Monday, October 01, 2012

 

With an election coming up, whither financial disclosure accuracy?


by Larry Geller

Well, Ethics Commission watchers, it’s the first of another month, and for some reason I feel compelled to check in again and see whether the three state legislators I wrote about in Financial disclosures the Ethics Commission should have caught (March 1, 2012) have filed their amended financial disclosure forms.

Checking the Ethics Commission website: no. Not yet. It occurred to me that in truth, I can’t tell if they might have filed their amended forms and the state Ethics Commission simply failed to post them.

Either way, Ethics Commission watchers, something is lacking in what should be viewed as a vital oversight function. And here we go into a general election without the safeguards that the financial disclosure law is supposed to provide.

Recall that I just picked three legislators back in March—there’s nothing to say that there are not others. It’s not my job to do the work that the Ethics Commission should be doing—I’m merely highlighting what I discovered, and the time that these apparent infractions are allowed to go uncorrected. Again, I don’t know if the legislators have filed amended forms and those simply haven’t been posted.

To recap: the three problem forms belong to these legislators, in alphabetic order:

 

CabanillaRep. Rida T.R. Cabanilla Arakawa’s 2012 financial disclosure apparently fails to disclose income, as required

Dela CruzOn Senator Donavan Dela Cruz’s May 19, 2011 filing he simply checked the box indicating no changes to report since last filing.  But his last filing was 12/9/10 which showed him as a Councilmember. Oops!


NishimotoRep. Scott Nishimoto also just checked the same box. He doesn’t report his House of Representatives job.


Repeating the earlier article, each legislator signs below a block which identifies the state law and states that there are statutory penalties for noncompliance.


 

For a discussion of the statute, see this article.

Apparently just having a state law isn’t enough. Apparently, having an Ethics Commission isn’t enough. If the statute is designed to create transparency, can we trust that it is doing so? These are just three examples that have now gone uncorrected, according to the website, for seven months.



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