Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Don’t believe Senate Republicans’ sudden interest in ethics reform

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira released the following statement in response to Senate Republicans’ claim to be champions of ethics reform.
Sen. Schapira
“It's striking to see Senate Republicans finally seizing the mantle of ethics reform at our state capitol. Unfortunately, its timing reveals it to be little more than an election-year stunt. The truth is Senate Republicans have had every opportunity to support comprehensive ethics reform, but didn't,” said Sen. Schapira.

Sen. Steve Gallardo and I introduced eight bills last session to limit lobbyists’ influence on legislators, require more frequent financial disclosure statements from elected officials, set a consistent standard of proof for ethics committee investigations, prohibit public officials’ ability to use official materials to promote themselves for election purposes and require disclosure of election expenditures by companies and labor groups.

“Senate President Steve Pierce, who is quoted in today’s release as being in support of the new ethics plan, refused to hear a single ethics reform bill this year. Sen. Jerry Lewis walked away from a bipartisan ethics reform effort just 10 months ago. Republican County Attorney Bill Montgomery denied multiple requests to meet with Democratic legislators on ethics reform.

“But now that there is an election approaching, they're all for reform?

“How convenient.

“What you won't see them address, however, is the unbridled influence of conservative special interest groups like ALEC, the Goldwater Institute and the Center for Arizona Policy. Those are the sources of legislation that put bible studies in public schools, let deceptive debt collectors scam consumers and limit women's access to contraception.

“Arizonans deserve leaders who are looking out for everyone in this state, not just their special interests.”

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