Gubernatorial disclosure

The electorate has the right to know a candidate’s financial holdings.

This November, Minnesota residents will elect a new governor, and they might have to vote without having a clear picture of the candidates’ personal finances. Minnesota financial disclosure laws only require a candidate to identify their stock investments, their sources of compensation and some types of real estate holdings. It is not required for candidates to report the value of their financial holdings, their spouse’s employment or their spouse’s financial situation.

Two candidates have exceeded the law’s requirements. DFL candidates Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Mark Dayton have released copies of their income tax returns, which identify not only their assets but also the value of their financial holdings.

But the other DFL candidate Matt Entenza, Republican Tom Emmer and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner have refused to release their tax returns or any detailed financial information.

The failure to release personal financial information serves to keep Minnesota voters ignorant of any possible conflicts of interest involving the candidate or their spouse.

The failure to release it does not bode well for any candidate, but it is an especially poor reflection on Matt Entenza. He alone of the three DFL candidates competing in the August 10 primary has failed to disclose his tax returns.

Entenza’s spokesman Jeremy Drucker even went so far as to say that he does not think there is any public demand for the disclosure of candidates’ personal finances, saying “I think if that were the case, then lawmakers would have required it.” Politicians, though, are not going to require it, as that would make them all the more accountable to the voters.

The other two DFL candidates see this as a chance to lead by example and go above Minnesota’s weak financial disclosure requirements. Matt Entenza and all other candidates for governor should join them in making the race as open and transparent as possible.