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State legislators' financial disclosures now posted online, revealing values of outside financial interests for first time

by jmaloni

Press release

Fri, Jul 5th 2013 12:30 pm

All disclosure filings remain publicly available upon request

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has announced that the financial disclosure forms filed by members of the State Senate and Assembly are now available online and, for the first time, publicly reveal the values of outside financial interests as well as certain clients legislators may have.

Pursuant to the Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011, all financial disclosures filed in 2013 by elected officials in state government must be published on the Joint Commission's website at jcope.ny.gov. While most disclosure statements are due to be filed with the Joint Commission by May 15, members and staff of the Legislature must first file with the Legislative Ethics Commission, which then has through June 30 to turn them over to the joint commission for public disclosure. 

Before this year, under law, the values of public officials' outside financial interests were redacted from public disclosure. Now, the values for items such as outside income, real estate holdings, and stocks and bonds for filers and their spouses will be publicly disclosed within a limited range, as they are required to be reported.

"These new disclosures represent a substantial leap in transparency for New York state as the curtain is pulled back on the values of our public officials' outside financial interests," said Joint Commission Chair Daniel J. Horwitz.

Available now on the joint commission's website are the disclosures filed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy, Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, and all 211 sitting members of the Legislature as of the May 15 filing date.

Also new this year is the requirement for filers to disclose certain clients or customers they provide services to in matters before the state from whom they receive $10,000 or more in fees.

The disclosures posted are among the more than 20,000 financial disclosure statements filed with the joint commission each year by public officials. Those financial disclosure statements not on the website are publicly available from the joint commission upon request.

With limited exceptions, those required to file publicly available financial disclosure statements include state officers and employees in policy-making positions or who make an annual salary of more than $88,256; members of the Legislature; legislative employees; political party chairs in counties with a population of more than 300,000; and candidates for statewide office or a seat in the Legislature.

Required filers who knowingly and willfully fail to file a financial disclosure statement may be subject to a fine of up to $40,000 as well as other sanctions.

Publicly available copies of any other financial disclosures on file with the joint commission may be obtained at http://jcope.ny.gov/public/request.html.

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