Oct 7, 2022 - News

FOIA Friday: Waiting for financial disclosure records

A pro-Prop 1 billboard featuring Mayor Mike Duggan

A pro-Prop 1 billboard featuring Mayor Mike Duggan. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

Mayor Mike Duggan is a prominent supporter of Prop. 1, a Nov. 8 ballot issue that would require state officials to disclose income sources and other financial information.

Yes, but: Detroit already has financial disclosure requirements — it's just difficult to access the information.

  • The city took more than three months — well beyond the legal 15-day window — to answer our June public records request for disclosure statements submitted by Duggan and other high-ranking city employees this year and last.
  • In fact, the city did not provide substantive answers to our inquiries until we asked questions on Wednesday for this article.

What they're saying: The delay is because of a mistake pulling the records, Duggan spokesperson John Roach told us yesterday.

  • "The documents initially pulled were disclosure forms that were … not responsive to your FOIA, so the process had to start again," Roach wrote in an email.

Why it matters: Duggan set Detroit's financial disclosure rules in a 2015 executive order in an effort to promote transparency.

  • But there can be no transparency if the city doesn't turn over the financial disclosure records under FOIA.
  • Michigan and Idaho are the only two states that don't require lawmakers to file annual financial disclosure reports.
  • Such information is essential to ferreting out conflicts of interest.

Details: If approved, Prop. 1 would require annual financial disclosure forms from all state legislators.

  • It would also reduce the total time a politician can serve in the legislature from 14 to 12 years and allow lawmakers the option of serving their terms in any combination of the state House or Senate.
  • Representatives now have a six-year term limit.

What's next: The city will provide Axios with the requested financial disclosure forms "in the next day or so," Roach wrote yesterday.


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