Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two Party System Needed to Address Bigger Picture

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement today in response to the Legislature passing the Ethics Reform Bill.

The Ethics Reform Bill passed today in the Legislature takes many positive steps, while closing various loopholes and forcing greater transparency within state government. However, there is a greater underlying issue that no rules or regulations can address and that is the extraordinary need for the restoration of a two party system here in Massachusetts.

The Democrats in Massachusetts have proven that they are unable of running state government efficiently and responsibly. There have been far too many instances of corruption, abuse of power and scandal. Additionally, the members of the House have been too comfortable forfeiting their power to the Speaker and that practice needs to come to an end in order to restore any kind of resemblance of checks and balances.

There is much to be proud of in the passing of today’s bill, but by no means will this bill prevent all further abuses in the future. However, the Republican Caucus, who behaved in a bipartisan manner to address what has become a partisan problem, contributed many important components to this bill.

Items from the Republican agenda included in this bill are:

1. Require committees, groups or individuals to immediately report all late expenditures that exceed $250.

2. Individuals to report bribes, corrupt gifts and monies gained from illegal activities for state income tax purposes.

3. Candidates are prohibited from using campaign funds for the payment of fines, penalties, restitution or damages incurred for violations of conflict of interest law.

4. Requires the disclosure of late contributions of $500 or more between 18 days before the election but more than 72 hours before the election, within 72 hours of depositing such contribution,

5. Candidates who have been nominated by the Governor for the Governor’s Council must dissolve their candidate committee and disperse all related funds within 6 months.