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Tyler votes to take money out of politics

Published 9:15am Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dowagiac’s state Rep. Sharon Tyler Feb. 10 voted in favor of ethics reform legislation that clarifies what is considered a conflict of interest for elected officials.

The legislation, which passed the House with nearly unanimous support, prohibits the governor, lieutenant governor, members of the Legislature, Secretary of State and Attorney General from helping organizations that contributed to their campaign obtain state grants or contracts.

The legislation also strengthens current law prohibiting public officials from using public buildings to solicit or accept campaign donations.

“When an elected official does a favor for someone who contributed to their campaign, it undermines the public’s confidence in our democracy,” said Tyler, R-Niles.

“The law is fuzzy on what exactly constitutes a conflict of interest.  This legislation sets clear guidelines.”

Tyler said this issue has become more important recently, since lawmakers are frequently asked to approve tax credits used as economic incentives to lure companies to Michigan.

“We don’t want a situation where we are viewed as helping wealthy corporations that can afford to donate to politicians while leaving small businesses out in the cold,” Tyler said. “Michigan needs to be open for business to everyone.”

The legislation now goes to the Senate.

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