Texas politicians' disclosures finally on Internet

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - For years, the Texas Legislature has resisted calls to publish politicians' personal financial information on the Internet.

Now, the modern world has caught up with state lawmakers. A fledgling watchdog group posted the disclosures online today.

Texas Watchdog calls itself a non-partisan, non-profit organization that uses public records to pull back the curtain on state government. It obtained scanned copies of the financial disclosures for the major state officeholders and published them on their Web site.

Before, the forms were only available on paper at the Texas Ethics Commission offices in Austin, which collects the data. The commission is all but barred from publishing the information on its Web site.

But the commission's deputy general counsel, Tim Sorrells, says nothing bars Texas Watchdog from requesting the files and posting them online.

Texas Watchdog editor Trent Seibert says that if the public can't easily access the records, they don't benefit voters and taxpayers.