Recent calls for the release of tax returns for high-profile candidates in Illinois highlight the inadequacy of existing financial disclosure requirements for Illinois political candidates. Requiring more financial information on candidates’ Statements of Economic Interest, which they are already required to file, will provide the public with a clearer picture of any potential conflicts of interest a candidate or elected official may have. This will increase transparency in a process that currently leaves voters and members of the media in the dark on important financial issues.
In addition to the existing requirements, the Statement of Economic Interest should be amended to include:
The name and specific amount of income that candidates receive from sources they report. Currently, candidates are only required to report the “nature of professional services” they provide to various entities.
Lists of any clients, and income received from those clients, that meet the $5,000 threshold for reporting. The identities of these clients will not be required where prohibited by law.
15 states, including California, New York, and Florida, require candidates and elected officials to disclose all clients from whom income over a certain level is received
10 states, including California and New York, and the federal government require candidates and elected officials to disclose lists detailing the sources and amounts of income, either in exact figures or by category.
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