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Secretary Benson testifies in support of stronger government ethics legislation, urges lawmakers to end culture of corruption

LANSING, Mich. – This morning, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson testified before the Michigan House Committee on Ethics and Oversight in support of the Bringing Reforms in Integrity, Transparency, and Ethics (BRITE) Act, a package of bills to improve accountability and transparency in state government. Secretary Benson testified alongside Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who announced multiple felony charges this week against former House Speaker Lee Chatfield for his alleged use of public, campaign, and nonprofit funds for personal gain.
“I’m here today because the citizens of Michigan deserve a government that works for them. A government that puts them first, led by public servants who seek to be ethical and transparent as they lead our great state, Secretary Benson said. “I know that many, many Michigan lawmakers are dedicated public servants, driven by a sense of duty to their communities and a desire to improve the lives of their constituents. But these bright lights are often crowded by dark clouds of corruption that thrive in the shadows allowed by our weak ethics and transparency laws.”
Benson noted in her testimony that Michigan’s inadequate ethics and transparency laws are part of why the former Speaker’s alleged financial crimes went undetected for so long.
“As I read through the charges and outrageous revelations surrounding this case, what was clear to me is that this culture of corruption must end. Our citizens deserve better,” Benson said. “The BRITE Act is a significant step in the right direction to improve transparency and accountability in our state, curtail the influence of lobbying and financial interests, and enable better enforcement of disclosure and ethics requirements.”
Secretary Benson emphasized the necessity of two improved campaign finance enforcement components included in the BRITE Act – allowing the Michigan Bureau of Elections (BOE) to petition the Court for an injunction to stop campaign finance violations in real time and granting BOE discovery and subpoena power to investigate individual cases.
“It’s long past time for Michigan to go from worst to first in our ethics and transparency laws,” Benson said. “Passing this long-overdue legislation will help ensure Michigan a place where governing, lawmaking, and leading are done with integrity and in accordance with the will of the voters of this state.”
Link to Secretary Benson’s full testimony

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Sec. Benson Testifies For Government Ethics Legislation

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