The Landscape of Local Asset Disclosure

Source: Alisha Green, Sunlight Foundation, December 9, 2013

Questions about the basic integrity of government officials can be difficult to answer with any one kind of disclosure. While disclosing information about campaign finance and lobbying are crucial steps toward answering these kinds of questions, asset disclosures help complete the picture by allowing for public oversight of basic conflicts of interest and empowering the prevention of corruption. Asset disclosures, defined broadly, include information about the financial stakes of elected or appointed officials that could impact their decision making. This data complements information about campaign finance, lobbying, legislation, rulemaking, procurement, and more to show how money might be influencing decisions made by those in government. As part of our ongoing exploration of local open data, we decided to shine a light on how this important dataset is currently shared and what steps could be taken to improve it.