GOP must get behind strong ethics rules

There’s nothing an influence peddler likes better than the outstretched palm of a lawmaker. Some leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature seem hell-bent on keeping the grease flowing to those hands.

A very sensible package of bills that would tighten Michigan’s weakest-in-the-nation ethics laws are stalled in Lansing because some key GOP lawmakers won’t come on board.

In March, House Democrats introduced a package of bills requiring legislators to disclose their personal finance information. The proposals won the conditional support of Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and House Speaker Tom Leonard, both Republicans.

But they’ve gone nowhere because other Republicans aren’t so eager to allow constituents to search their financial records for potential conflicts.

The House did pass an ethics-related bill in March on a bipartisan vote that would lift the Freedom of Information Act shield on the governor and lawmakers.

That bill is stalled in the Senate, blocked by Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof.

Lansing’s wild west ethical landscape must be tamed. Lawmakers are relatively free to take all sorts of sweeteners from lobbyists, including meals, event tickets and even some trips.

— Detroit News