State legislators say they welcome transparency regarding their personal finances — corporate and real estate holdings, government contracts and the like.But who decides what constitutes transparency? Who checks whether they’re telling us all that we’re entitled to know? They do. Just as war is too important to be left to the generals, transparency is too important to be left to the politicians.
Better late than never: Four Georgia legislators, including Rep. Sheila Jones of Atlanta, filed personal financial disclosures last week for 2008. Some, we’re told, even mentioned Atlanta Unfiltered when they made sure the state received their reports. That leaves 10 Democrats who still haven’t filed. UP NEXT: We’ll take a closer look at where the money’s flowing in the Legislature, and to whom. One hint: It ain’t to the Democrats.
A dozen Georgia legislators still haven’t filed financial disclosure statements for 2008 as required by state law, according to State Ethics Commission records. Four of them, including Rep. Roger Bruce of Atlanta, haven’t filed disclosures for 2007 either. As a practical matter, there’s not much of a penalty for failing to file a disclosure statement. The Ethics Commission routinely assesses a late fee of $75, but makes little effort to collect it.
MARTA officials will meet Tuesday to talk about waiving the transit agency’s conflict-of-interest policy for a vendor that hired a state legislator earlier this year. But for the lawmaker, state Sen. Doug Stoner of Smyrna, his job with the vendor may be just one of the potential conflicts.
Hugh Floyd, a state legislator from Norcross, filed a disclosure of his personal finances a week ago, two months after the deadline set by state law. That still leaves 15 legislators who haven’t filed their 2008 disclosures, which were due July 1; five of them have not filed their 2007 reports, either. Why is this important? It’s not, unless you want to know whether your elected officials are keeping a proper distance between the public interest and their own private interests.
State Sen. Jeff Chapman of Brunwick finally filed his 2008 personal financial disclosure last week, two months after it was due. It came just a couple days before he jumped in the governor’s race. Disclosures for Rep. Toney Collins and Sen. John Meadows have also turned up. That leaves 16 legislators, including 15 Democrats, who haven’t filed a disclosure yet this year. Five of them didn’t file one last year either.