A Democratic lawmaker in the Ohio House wants to require lobbyists to disclose their annual salaries as a way to bring another level of transparency to state government.
Bob Hagan from Youngstown said information seems to be missing behind campaign contributions and lobbying in the Statehouse. That’s why he's calling for new requirements for lobbyists to disclose their annual salaries.
The proposed bill comes in the wake of a new study which said that the Ohio oil and gas industry donated $1.8 million in campaign contributions. Hagan believes there are a lot of secret deals happening that end up influencing the legislative process.
“The fact that lobbyists and legislators have too close of a relationship in so many ways really shouts out for reform," said Hagan. "And I think that this bill gives exactly that—reform of the legislative process—of campaign contributions—and the fear that most people of the state of Ohio—that government does too much behind closed doors.”
In response to the study, Tom Stewart, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said the industry is simply supporting policymakers who share their ideals. Stewart added that expanding financial disclosures for lobbyists would hurt their business.
But Hagan disagrees and said his new requirements will help businesses be more honest.