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State Auditor Candidate Proposes ‘Sweeping Ethics Reform’

Democratic state auditor candidate Michael Claytor says ethics have left the statehouse under Gov. Mike Pence.

Michael Claytor

Photo: Brandon Smith/IPBS

Michael Claytor speaks at a press conference about what he says is a lack of ethics at the Indiana statehouse.

The Democrat running for state auditor is proposing what he calls “sweeping ethics reform.”

Michael Claytor says under Governor Mike Pence, ethics have left the statehouse, and he is calling attention to what he considers several recent ethical lapses in state government.

He points to recent investigations into former Republican state Superintendent Tony Bennett, Indiana Department of Transportation Chief of Staff Troy Woodruff, and GOP lawmaker Eric Turner as examples of ethical problems.

Claytor says Indiana needs to strengthen its financial disclosure policies, which he says require only the bare minimum, and also wants to add some teeth to the state’s conflict of interest statute.

“It doesn’t say you can’t have a conflict, it says you just have to tell about it,” he says. “That is another point that is just ridiculous.”

State Republican Party Chair Tim Berry says those are issues for the legislature and Claytor needs to figure out what the State Auditor does.

“I think, quite frankly, he’s searching for something because he’s not been able to gain any coverage anywhere else and any traction as a candidate doing anything else because we’re so well served by the incumbent Auditor today,” he says.

Claytor says the State Auditor’s office is in charge of the state’s transparency site and he would make all non-legally protected financial data available for the public.

Berry notes Indiana’s transparency portal has been named the best in the nation.

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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