The Ethics Commission: Seeking full disclosures

In the matter of Barbour and questions about his “blind trust” agreements, the Ethics Commission approved Barbour’s disclosure and in the wake of national news stories that appeared to cite confidential commission documents, Hood has launched an investigation into a possible leak of the document.

A report by Bloomberg News raised questions of whether Barbour’s blind trust adequately separates his personal finances from his policy decisions. His trust receives payments from his former Washington lobbying firm, Barbour Griffith and Rodgers, which has done work for Mississippi clients and others involved in the Katrina recovery.

Questions surrounding the lack of specific blind trust provisions in state ethics laws remain.

Hood says that the Ethics Commission had prior to the blind trust flap sought recommendations from the Ole Miss Law Research Center on possible changes in ethics laws to bring them into line with other states and to modernize them.

“Blind trusts are just one of the many areas the commission wants to look at and consider and possibly ask the Legislature to address,” said Hood. “The Legislature, in consultation with the governor, lieutenant governor, and the legislative leadership, will have to find consensus on any recommendations the commission submits.”

Sid Salter
Clarion Ledger
9/16/7