Local members of Congress defend stances on financial disclosure

House members from the Kansas City area on Wednesday defended their decisions to keep their tax returns private, saying required financial disclosures provide the public with enough information about their finances.

“Members of Congress fill out a comprehensive financial disclosure form every year that lists income, investments and liabilities,” said a statement from U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, a Republican from northwest Missouri. “That form is publicly available and provides the needed transparency for members of the legislative and executive branch.”

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Kansas City Democrat, said in an email that, “in many respects, these forms are more comprehensive (than tax returns)...they list retirement accounts and other financial holdings, versus just income.”

Matthew Manda, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas, agreed. “These (disclosure) documents are available to the public,” he said.

Three area Republican senators — Roy Blunt of Missouri and Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts of Kansas — did not respond to requests for comment.