State-Level Government: An Evaluation of Maine's Conflict of Interest Laws and Amendments to Improve Transparency Through Financial Disclosure
In March of 2012, the State Integrity Investigation published a Corruption Risk Report Card for each state, giving them a grade on 14 different areas relating to government transparency. Based on those grades, the states were then ranked 1-50, with 50 being the worst in government transparency; Maine ranked 46th. This report card prompted my thesis which evaluated government transparency at the state level, with a particular focus on Maine. Based on my research I attempted to answer the following questions: What are the current statutes/regulations regarding conflict of interest for legislative and executive branch officials in Maine? What potential concerns and problems arise from these current statutes, or the lack of current statutes? What can and should be done to address these concerns and problems? I then took my research and drafted a bill proposal to make amendments to improve Maine’s conflict of interest laws which was submitted to the 126th Maine Legislature by Governor Paul R. LePage as LD 1001: An Act to Improve Laws Governing Financial Disclosure by Legislators and Certain Public Employees and Public Access to Information Disclosed by Senator Emily Cain.