Forrester criticizes Haslam for ending income disclosure rules

Monday, January 17, 2011 at 12:30pm

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.

14 Comments on this post:

By: PKVol on 1/17/11 at 3:43

First of all, if it doesn't affect state government, why is it necessary to disclose the amount if the source is reveals? Secondly, Chip Forrester narrowly held onto his chairmanship, so he feels he has to justify his holding the position.

By: trtay2004 on 1/17/11 at 4:04

PKVol - Is does matter if the #1 person in State Government, who has a lot of control how State money is spent, can direct and control these expenditures. I really wanted to like Haslam, but this is not a smart move on his part to help our state to grow and have trust in the government. Is it too early to talk impeaching.

By: bill1227 on 1/17/11 at 4:08

Probably possibly doesn't affect state gov't, but we will never know, I voted for him but I do not care for this "executive" order. He is turning into a politician on his first day on the job.

By: bfra on 1/17/11 at 5:09

What did anyone that voted for him expect?

By: The Marshal on 1/17/11 at 5:41

The Marshal
As bfra has pointed out, what would you expect? What is he hiding? The fact that his being a billionaire OIL retailer might make some of us wonder why he would want to be governor anyway. To continue to help the ultra rich like he and his friends are get even richer? Naw. . . . . why would we think that?

By: Nitzche on 1/17/11 at 5:56

Is Chip Forrester still around? He is about as relevant as a 8 track player!

By: David_S on 1/17/11 at 6:10

Sorry, forgot. Being wealthy automatically makes you evil. Will have to remember that in the future....

By: roadsailor on 1/17/11 at 7:30

I don't think the issue of right or wrong should be at issue here, but my question is whether Mr. Bill disclosed, during his campaign rhetoric, the fact that this was going to be one of his very first actions if he won the election. I doubt it very seriously, and I believe that if he had, he would have received far fewer votes then he got. So being honest and truthful with the electorate goes down the drain. Now we have to live with it. That's how we play politics in America. And that's why I say why bother getting involved. What wins elections in America? Money elects politicians not people.

By: Chris H on 1/17/11 at 10:57

So much for his vision of Transparency in Government.. If this is a precursor of what is to come from this waste of flesh, I cant wait to see what happens next. Something tells me he will be even worse than Carl Dean, the land thief of Davidson County. I hope I am wrong about Haslam, but he is most certainly off to a bad start.

By: amr6666 on 1/17/11 at 11:19

It amazes me sometimes, the guys with the most money are often the most secretive. Thing is he is now in public office, stop the secrets, stop protecting your billions. Crazy.

By: govskeptic on 1/18/11 at 7:59

Red meat has been thrown out for the critics that weren't in his
camp from the beginning! The policy could have been left in
place even without disclosing his own income(he was elected
after all, not appointed)!

By: pswindle on 1/18/11 at 10:41

During the election, he refused to disclose his earnings. It was brought to our attention that his company had dealings with overseas oil outlets. He wanted to hide that and he still does. There is nothing that he can do to bring back trust. Tn hold on to your seats, we are in for a rough four years. If this is the most important thing that he has on his agenda is to protect himself, you can bet he is hiding sometning along with his top appointed aides. I'm sick already over this administsration. He moves into a mansion that was remodeled by the fomer first lady and he has not made any comment on how grateful that his family should be. If Andrea had not done something to save one of the state's treasurer, it would be falling to the ground by now. They plan on using the underground bunker. Remember how the GOP blasted our former governor, now it is a good thing. It is time for TN to wake up. A big mistake was make, and we have four years to pay for it.

By: jwk6179 on 1/18/11 at 11:25

It's funny but if Bill Haslam was a Democrat and had signed this bill ending the Income Disclosure, Steve Gill, Ralph Bristol, Michael DelGiorno and Phil Valentine would be screaming at the top of their lungs about how Haslam is trying to hide something and that the CITIZENS of Tennessee need to know exactly what he is hiding. Yet, since Haslam is a Republican, I bet NOT ONE WORD OF CRITISISM is utter by these very people about this bill.

And speaking of the bunker, Ron Ramsey was one of the MOST OUTSPOKEN about the BUNKER, yet when he was running for Governor, he stated several times that he was PLANNING ON USING THE BUNKER AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE if he became Governor.

By: PKVol on 1/18/11 at 1:16

and the haters rant on...