Gov. Jesse Ventura takes great pride in being a straight shooter. Elected in 1998 on a Reform Party ticket, he pledged to be a different sort of politician -- one not beholden to special interests and lobbyists.
That may well be an accurate description of the outspoken governor but it looks like Minnesotans will just have to take his word on it. The celebrity-governor isn't going to tell us how much he received in direct fees or salaries from his broadcast of XFL football games.
State law asks only that he detail payments he received for expenses such as charter flights, limousine rides, meals and lodging. That figure totaled a whopping $310,052.
The reason state law mandates the governor's disclosure as far as it does is because he, along with the state's other constitutional officers, serves on the State Board of Investment. The XFL league was partly owned by NBC, which is owned by General Electric. Minnesota pension funds are invested in General Electric stock.
Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, the author of the legislation requiring disclosure of paid expenses, said the only reason direct fees and salaries weren't included in the law was because lawmakers didn't envision a sitting governor securing a job that would generate substantial amounts of money while in office. She supports Rep. Matt Entenza's attempt to close up that loophole for future governors.
The point we'd raise is that a governor, particularly one who prides himself on his candor, doesn't need a law to do the right thing. Gov. Ventura can and should disclose such information voluntarily.
Disclosure doesn't cost him anything and it allows citizens to make up their own minds on whether the moonlighting is appropriate.
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