CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State ethics commissioners say they will again push lawmakers to toughen financial disclosure rules for public officials.
At a meeting Thursday, though, some members of the Ethics Commission said they think the proposed requirements go too far.
Officials would have to reveal more details about their financial holdings and employment. They also would have to disclose that information about their spouses, and name their dependents
The commission had drawn up a similar plan last year after the Center for Public Integrity, a national watchdog organization, gave West Virginia an "F" for its disclosure laws.
In January, the House of Delegates unanimously passed a bill to beef up ethics laws, but the Senate Finance Committee later killed it
Ethics Commission Executive Director Theresa Kirk said she is hopeful the bill will pass next year.
"We definitely had momentum last year, and I believe that should carry on in to the next session," Kirk said after the meeting.
But some commissioners say the rules would violate people's privacy.
Commissioner Jack Buckalew said he didn't want to make public officials disclose so much information about their spouses. He thinks it could discourage people from serving on state boards and commissions.
Another commissioner, Father Douglas Sutton, agreed. He said he is worried especially about proposed rules to post financial disclosure forms online.
"I think that people should have a right to their privacy," he said. "I have real qualms about this."
Commissioner Jonathan Turak, though, said the spousal requirements would prevent officials from putting property in their spouses' names to circumvent disclosure laws.
The rules would apply to all elected officials and candidates for public office; members of state boards and commissions; and top administrators in state agencies.