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Public Deserves Complete Transparency

Monday, Nov. 28, 2011

Transparency in government is not limited to those who hold office. Many states require detailed reporting of economic interests, not only of the candidate or office holder, but also of their family members, including their spouses and children.

In a ruling just published by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), Claudia Chandler, the chief deputy director of the California Energy Commission was fined $6,000 for participating in two governmental matters where she had a financial interest.

Unlike many cases where the conflict was direct – where one has a financial tie to the agency awarded the contracts – in this case, she had a personal financial interest through her community property interest in her husband’s business.

Another stumbling block can occur when the value of stock or property has increased since the last filing, and requires disclosure of that new value.

Record keeping for public servants is like filing your taxes. You must save your receipts, be prepared to back up your claims, and declare the required financial interests –completely and honestly.

Tags: California Fair Political Practices Commission, financial disclosure, transparency

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