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Auditor Nominee: State Transparency Portal Not So Clear

The Democratic nominee for auditor plans to focus his campaign on what he says are lax ethics policies in state government.

Former deputy state examiner Mike Claytor says the state transparency portal run by the auditor's office isn't transparent enough. While state contracts and payments are posted there, Claytor says determining what someone was paid for often requires untangling and linking a series of documents -- if it's possible at all. And he notes recent media reports charging some contracts failed to appear on the website or were deleted.

The call for greater transparency is the first plank in what Claytor says will be a weekly rollout of ethics planks leading up to Election Day. He's also adding an ethics pledge to his campaign website, vowing not to mix political and state business if elected.

The campaign hopes to capitalize on recent allegations of potential conflicts of interest which received a clean bill of health, either because of loosely drawn rules or because agency heads granted a waiver allowed under state law. Claytor says if waivers are going to be allowed at all, the decision should rest with an independent board, not within the agency.

Claytor says he'd like to see the legislature tighten conflict-of-interest rules. He says requiring financial disclosures isn't enough -- he says conflicts should be strictly prohibited unless they're unavoidable. And he suggests the creation of a state inspector general in 2005 has actually weakened ethics oversight, by taking power away from the State Board of Accounts.

Claytor faces Republican incumbent Suzanne Crouch and Libertarian John Schick on the November ballot.

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