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Ethics Commission Staff Seek Financial Disclosure Compliance

August 31st, 2015 by Mike Vasilinda

Hundreds of public officials across Florida are about to be fined twenty-five dollars a day because they have failed to file required financial disclosure information. The information was due July first, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us the grace period to file the financial snapshot for almost a thousand people who have yet to file ends tonight.

Governor Rick Scott has a net worth of 147 million. We know, because Scott is one of 38 thousand public officials required to disclose how much money they made in the previous year, what they own and what it’s worth. The form is due on July fist  but fines don’t kick in until September.

“With the Florida Commission on Ethics.”

“This is about her disclosure”  is how phone concersations sounded as the entire ethics commission staff spent a day calling the 1300 who were still late. Executive Director Virlindia Doss says they would rather not fine people. “We would much rather get people to file than to fine them at the end, collect those fines, or even prosecute them for failing to file” says Doss.

The filing requirements have been in place since the late 1970’s. There were eight elected legislators who had not filed by Monday morning.

It’s not just public officials who have to file, it’s also people who have the authority to spend more than twenty thousand dollars of your tax money.

The disclosure is one of the main ways  to know if someone is profiting from their service said Chris Anderson between phone calls.

“You have somebody on the zoning board and they disclose they own a particular piece of property at a certain location, and you might say, aha..no wonder they are taking this position toward this rezoning change that’s right down the road from their property/

Those who don’t file by the end of the day Monday face a 25 dollar a fine starting Tuesday morning

“You mailed it yesterday. Very Good wa the response to one official on the other end of the line.

The fine is capped at 1500 hundred dollars…which takes 60 days to accumulate.

The day began with 987 people who had yet to file. 67 were constitutional officers, another 230 were from state boards, and just over 700 local officials had yet to disclose their finances.

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