State Democratic Party chairman Chip Forrester criticized Gov. Bill Haslam Monday for scuttling income disclosure requirements for himself and his top aides.
Under an executive order Sunday — one of his first acts as governor — Haslam eliminated rules requiring disclosure of how much he and senior administration officials make in income outside state government, although they still are required to list the sources of that money.
“Tennesseans deserve a state government that is responsive to their needs and transparent in its operation,” Forrester said. “Coming out of the gate with this kind of executive order is disconcerting. Our government should be more transparent and open, not less. The governor and his staff should be above reproach when conducting state business. Removing the disclosure requirement does nothing to assure citizens government is working on their behalf. If anything, that makes people more skeptical of their government.”
Haslam counteracted the first executive order signed by his predecessor, Democrat Phil Bredesen, in 2003. That order required top executive branch officials to make annual reports about their outside earnings. Under Haslam's rule, administration officials will be treated the same as state lawmakers.
Last year, Haslam was criticized by his rivals in the governor's campaign for refusing to disclose his income from family-owned Pilot Corp. He argued that would unfairly reveal personal information about family members.