Financial disclosure laws seeing progress in Michigan - but more work is needed, Benson says

When Michigan voters went to polls in 2022, they approved measures that would force legislators to make financial disclosures about where their money is coming from.

The midterm ballot proposals required that Michigan lawmakers go further than they ever have before when it came to transparency. But what those actual laws look like would be up to the representatives and senators that are in the crosshairs of the amendment.

But when elected leaders revealed the final product, critics said they didn't go far enough.

In response to the complaints, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson asked the attorney general to clarify those laws, which some say had loopholes. In fact, Sen. Ed McBroom, a staunch supporter of full disclosure, warned that if lawmakers want to get around the laws, they'll find a way.

"I also believe that those who are looking to skirt the law will find a different way to skirt the law," he said.

In her ruling this week, state Attorney General Dana Nessel closed some of those loopholes, requiring lawmakers to do the following:

  • Provide more income data and not just if someone has a pension or other income sources
  • Disclose gifts, travel, and the names behind them
  • Disclose all lobbyist payments.

Benson has called the AG's opinion "steps in the right direction" while also clarifying that more work was needed.