The first candidate background checks funded by a new nonprofit, Candidate Verification, are in, and they show … basically nothing.
Candidate Verification teamed up with the Municipal League to background check up to 50 primary-election candidates’ criminal and civil backgrounds and work histories. The League, which is known for its nonpartisan candidate ratings (“good,” “very good,” etc.), invited candidates from a sampling of races to take part in the first year of background checks.
Participation was optional. Once candidates agreed, they were given the first look at what background checkers found and could opt to share it only with the Municipal League (which releases ratings of candidates) or with the public.
In all, just 14 background checks from around the region ended up in the database. And not surprisingly, all the publicly available checks are clean.
The Municipal League and Candidate Verification hope the process catches on, so that more candidates will participate — and, if they don’t make their reports available, face questions from the public.
“It could at some point become a red flag if a candidate declines to release his background screening results,” said Loren Tierney, a director of the Municipal League.