Proposed House rules change addresses transparency and conflicts of interest

Representative Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix is proposing a House Rules change aimed at curbing conflict of interest and increasing transparency in the Arizona House of Representatives, this week.

The proposed change would tighten the definition of personal financial interest for legislators. The rule change requires a member with minimal financial interest in something that is the topic of legislation to declare that interest and refrain from voting on it.

“Under Gallego’s proposed change, a conflict of interest would be present if 50 or fewer people are affected by legislation and if any legislator’s personal financial gain from legislation is greater than the “de minimis” threshold. Under IRS guidelines, a de minimis amount refers to a benefit that is so minimal, it wouldn’t need to be reported, according to the Yellow Sheet. “For lawmakers who do have a conflict of interest under Gallego’s proposed rule, they would simply be exempted from voting on a bill. A violation of the proposed rule could lead to an ethics investigation.”

“Transparency is something that we must continue to improve,” said Gallego.