Texas Watchdog posts financial disclosures of state pols

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The AP’s Jay Root reports on the latest efforts from Texas Watchdog:

For years the Texas Legislature has resisted calls to publish politicians’ personal financial information on the Internet. But the modern world caught up with state lawmakers when a fledgling watchdog group posted the disclosures online.

Texas Watchdog, a nonpartisan organization that uses public records to pull back the curtain on state government, obtained scanned copies of the financial disclosures for the major state officeholders and published them on their Web site Wednesday.

Before the forms were only available on paper at the state Ethics Commission in Austin.

“If the public can’t easily get at these records, they don’t do voters and taxpayers much good,” said Trent Seibert, editor of Texas Watchdog. “Through this site, Texas residents will be able to keep a close eye on public officials and sound the alarm if they spot a conflict of interest.”

The ethics commission, which collects the data, was all but barred from publishing the information on its Web site.

The story and links are here on the Texas Watchdog site.

The interactive Google map is a nice touch. Indeed, overall that’s another nice bit of work from the new guys in town.

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Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX