As of September 5, the Florida Commission on Ethics is reporting 632 state and local elected officials, government staff and appointed officials have filed their financial disclosure forms late and will be subject to $25 per day fines up to a $1500 cap (60 days late). $15,800 total in fines are owed by these late filers as of September 5 and the maximum fine total for late filers for 2012 could be as high as $948,000 if none of these disclosures are filed within the next 60 days. The individual names and positions of the 632 late filers are posted at the following link:Financial Disclosure Fines Report - Fines accrued as of September 05, 2012
Should the Florida Commission on Ethics receive a financial disclosure form from any of these officials with a postmark on or before September 4, then all of their fines will be waived. In 2011, the Florida Commission on Ethics had a 99% collection rate with the final list of late filers totaling 361 out of 37,686 officials required to file. As of September 5, the Ethics Commission is at a collection rate of more than 98% with 632 late filers out of 37,532 Florida public officials and employees required to file financial disclosure forms in 2012.
66 current and former Florida officials and employees owe a total of $87,199.03 in fines for late filing of financial interests in past years as of July 9, 2012. See the list here
Background on state and local outreach to late filers
The deadline for financial disclosure forms to be filed was July 1, 2012. A two-month grace period was extended to September 4 this year because of the Labor Day holiday.
4,284 late filers were mailed certified notices (required by statute) by either the Florida Commission on Ethics or one of the 67 Supervisors of Elections, depending on the individual's position, on July 31st at a cost of more than $20,000 to Florida taxpayers ($4.75 each).
2,313 late filers were mailed a reminder postcard (not required by statute) by the Florida Commission on Ethics around August 10 at a cost of $0.32 each.
There were 1,240 late filers as of August 29 and the Florida Commission on Ethics staff along with many state and local agencies have attempted to call these individuals (not required by statute).
Integrity Florida published Corruption Risk Report: Financial Disclosure
on July 30, 2012 and our research report policy recommendations to the Florida Legislature included:
- Fine enforcement: Late financial disclosure filers should be subject to automatic fines withheld from the government wages (or government contract payments) of someone who currently is in office or employment or otherwise is being paid by Florida governments. Liens on personal property should also be considered to apply to automobiles or other significant assets to enforce fines.
- Adopt Louisiana financial disclosure form: Florida should adopt the more detailed financial disclosure form used by Louisiana.
- Provide public access to disclosures online: The public should have access to an online, searchable database of state officials' financial disclosure information, potential voting conflicts and gifts received.
Integrity Florida published Corruption Risk Report: Florida Ethics Laws
on June 6, 2012 and our research report policy recommendations to the Florida Legislature included:
- Create an online financial disclosure filing system: Financial disclosure forms should be filed electronically and made publicly available online in a searchable, updatable and downloadable format.
- Require top officials to disclose major transactions: Require all cabinet officials, state legislators, state agency heads and local elected officials to disclose details of all major financial transactions over $1,000 within the previous year, including stock trades, property transactions and changes in business ownership.