Political interest groups routinely sound out candidates’ views with detailed questionnaires before deciding whom to endorse. When these questionnaires remain secret, they can become vehicles by which invested parties extract specific commitments — to resist health care reforms, for instance, or to support special-interest legislation — that conflict with the public interest. If candidates are serious about informing voters of what they’re promising on the campaign trail, they should publish their responses to questionnaires.
So far, most candidates for governor have yet to commit to doing so. As Globe columnist Scot Lehigh reported last month, only two candidates in the race, Democrat Juliette Kayyem and Republican Charlie Baker, promised to make public any questionnaires that they filled out. Unless other candidates make similar promises, the electorate won’t be able to trust that they’ll put the broad public interest ahead of the demands of the organizations whose endorsements they won.