Mike Cox (R)

LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline)-Candidates for Michigan governor should disclose their personal financial information for at least the last four year, said state Attorney General Mike Cox, who is running to be the state's next chief executive.

In addition to Cox and his fellow candidates' financial data, the attorney general said they should provide the same information about their spouse, including the couples' investments and other holdings.

"Voters and job providers across the state deserve financial disclosure from Michigan's next CEO," said Cox, who Monday became the first candidate to release his 2009 tax records and posting on the Internet his returns for the last four years.

Additionally, Cox released his wife's tax return and the values of his home and retirement account.

"This week I disclosed my personal finances and tax returns again. Each of the other candidates for governor and their spouses, Republicans and Democrats, should disclose their personal finances for the last four years immediately to let taxpayers and job makers know up front about where they make their money, any boards they serve on and to let the sun shine in on any potential conflicts of interest," Cox said.

He added: "Bringing jobs back to Michigan means making this state a leader in government ethics and transparency, and that starts with personal financial disclosure."

Cox is the clear frontrunner in the race to succeed Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who is barred by term limits from seeking reelection.

Democrats running are Michigan House Speaker Andy Dillon of Redford Township and state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith of Salem Township and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.

On the Republican side, Cox and five others are running: U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, state Sen. Tom George, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, Ann Arbor venture capitalist Rick Snyder and Troy businessman David Kniffen.

Cox was elected attorney general in 2002, beating out Democrat Gary Peters. He became Michigan's first Republican state attorney general in nearly 50 years. In 2006, he won re-election.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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