Today's Salt Lake Tribune carried an op-ed piece on conflict of interest for public employees. The conclusion is that public employees will regulate more honestly when they have made all their conflicts of interest public. I guess this begs the question of whether or not such disclosure will be taken into account by their boss or anyone else. Merely disclosing conflicts of interest doesn't go far enough if no one ever makes an effort to review them. There aren't many of these forms on file in Utah State government and I guess the question is whether or not there's been much harm. Are the citizens of Utah substantially worse off because of this omission? Should they then invest public money in solving the problem?
I think that we should look at who would benefit the most from such disclosure: the press. There's all kinds of opportunity for the press to suggest wrong doing and question motives if this kind of information were more widely collected. That will sell more papers and that's what counts. I guess public employees aren't the only one's with a conflict of interest. Maybe the press should publically disclose this information about themselves as well? That way we could all more effectively judge who's stories to believe. Of course, the press has never been one to favor a two-way street.