Press release from the Republican Caucus of the Tennessee House of Representatives, Dec. 7, 2015:
Representative Sexton, Senator Bailey File “The Voter Accountability and Transparency Act” Of 2015
(NASHVILLE) — State Representative Cameron Sexton (R–Crossville) and State Senator Paul Bailey (R–Sparta) filed first of its kind legislation this week to require all local and state candidates running for office to disclose their credit score when they file their Statement of Interest form with the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance.
Representative Sexton commented the idea was brought forth by a constituent in Cumberland County who had concerns with individuals seeking office and not knowing if they could handle their personal finances, much less the finances of all taxpayers.
“It is a valid concern. Before an election, candidates constantly say how they are going to balance the budget and make sure government lives within its means. How do voters verify whether the candidate means what they say? The only accurate answer is to know the person’s credit score. They are used daily to determine financial responsibility,” said Representative Sexton.
“I pledged I would always be open to ideas from citizens. We hear the voices of the people asking for accountability at all levels of government,” responded Senator Paul Bailey.
The Statement of Interest form asks all candidates to disclose their sources of incomes, blind trusts, investments, professional services, certain types of loans and bankruptcies. The form is signed by the candidate and a witness as being accurate and complete.
Senator Bailey continued, “This legislation will go a long way to help provide transparency to the citizens of Tennessee on who they elect.”
The proposed legislation would require the candidate to check the range of their credit score on the Statement of Interest form. The various ranges would be 0, 700 and above, 699 to 650, 649 to 501 and 500 or below. The average credit score as reported by Farris Issac Corporation (FICO) in Tennessee is 624 as of November 2015.
“Tennessee would be the first state in America to require candidates running for office to disclose their credit score to the voters,” concluded Sexton.
The full text of House Bill 1433/Senate Bill 1452 can be found by visiting: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/109/Bill/HB1433.pdf