Minn. Judges May be Required to Reveal Financial Ties

Updated: 03/18/2013 6:51 AM KSTP.com By: Nick Winkler

Minnesota lawmakers are now considering a bill that would close what some call a loophole.

Decades ago, judges and county commissioners were not included in the list outlining public officials.

The current law doesn't require them to file statements of economic interest with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, like legislators do.

That may soon change, though.

Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South Saint Paul, and Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, are sponsoring a bill that would broaden the definition of public official to include judges and county commissioners.

The bill would make public the financial relationships judges and county commissioners have but not require them to assign a specific value to those relationships, Marty said.

Analysts say the bill may be a good start to a broader campaign finance reform effort but argue the bill does little to improve judicial integrity. Judges are already required to rescue themselves from cases in which a financial conflict is present.