Enemies of darkness step forward

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Rep. Paul Amador, a Republican state representative from Coeur d’Alene, turned the lights on.

So did Coeur d’Alene Mayor Steve Widmyer.

Amador and Widmyer voluntarily complied with a dead bill, one that failed to make it out of the House State Affairs Committee earlier this month; a bill that very reasonably asked candidates for city, county and state offices to disclose financial information that could expose potential areas of conflict of interest.

The Press published Amador’s and Widmyer’s disclosures Saturday, following the editor’s voluntary disclosure on Wednesday. Much to voters’ relief, the editor isn’t seeking office anywhere. But many current office holders likely will seek to hold onto their seats, and other prospective candidates waiting in the wings just might have an opinion about this whole transparency thing, too.

Even though the House State Affairs Committee lacked the integrity to do the right thing on showing their financial hand, there’s evidence that many citizens think that disclosure is important. We hope many other candidates are willing to turn the lights on, too.

So here’s the official invitation: The Press welcomes and will publish the financial disclosure information that any city, county or state elected official from Kootenai County is willing to provide. Email that information to Mike Patrick: mpatrick@cdapress.com

If you aren’t sure what needs to be included, see Wednesday’s editorial or Saturday’s Local section My Turns from Rep. Amador and Mayor Widmyer. If you’d like to see the draft bill that never saw the light of day, we have that and will be glad to share it with anyone. Just email Patrick and ask for it.

Meantime, with new election cycles beginning, The Press will ask local candidates to disclose the financial information that an interim committee of the Legislature unanimously approved before the House committee killed it. We’ll share that information with thousands of Kootenai County voters. If candidates decide they don’t want to provide the information, we’ll let voters know that, too.

The House State Affairs Committee might have won the battle of keeping the public lights off areas where possible conflicts of interest could someday surface. The panel will lose the war, however, if newspapers across the state strongly encourage candidates to provide that information anyway and then share it with voters.

Ethical, open governance should be the goal for us all. A little light can illuminate the way.

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