Labor head: Elected officials must disclose business

Yacimovich to revive bill aiming to prevent conflicts of interest by requiring MKs, ministers to submit annual reports.

Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich 370 (R) (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich 370 (R)
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich plans to revive her bill requiring elected officials to reveal their business and other interests, she announced on Tuesday.
Yacimovich’s move follows Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision on Monday not to make changes in his personal investment portfolio, even though his request to do so was approved by the State Comptroller’s Office.
The Labor leader plans to put her 2009 bill back on the agenda when the Knesset’s winter session begins in October, which would require elected officials to submit an annual disclosure report, detailing their connections that could lead to potential conflicts of interest.
The report would be available to the general public, and the state comptroller can decide whether a connection is problematic.
The purpose of the legislation, Yacimovich explained, is to reveal the officials’ affairs to the public, in order to prevent conflicts of interest and putting personal priorities over the good of the public.
The bill would apply to MKs, local authority councilmen and candidates for those positions, as well as ministers that are not lawmakers.
“Disclosing public figures’ interests is necessary in a democracy,” Yacimovich said. “Not only must the public know if the people they elected have other interests, but it will create a better environment of transparency and integrity.”
According to the Labor leader, disclosure reports are not an invasion of privacy because economic interests are not personal, and the average citizen should be able to know how much property and wealth politicians have.
Yacimovich pointed out that MKs and ministers already report their wealth, but called the existing system “useless, because they are locked in the Knesset Ethics Committee’s vaults, and can only be viewed by law authorities under special circumstances.”