Local Politics

Officials Line Up to Comply With New Ethics Rules

Posted March 15, 2007

— Hundreds of public officials and lobbyists filed paperwork with the State Ethics Commission Thursday to comply with new, stricter disclosure rules.

The revised ethics policies were put in place after the criminal investigations into former House Speaker Jim Black and former state lottery commissioner Kevin Geddings.

Black pleaded guilty last month to federal and state corruption charges, including accepting illegal cash campaign contributions. Geddings was convicted of fraud last October after he failed to disclose his business relationship with a lottery vendor.

Under the new regulations, government leaders who can effect policy must give a general accounting of their assets, business dealings, and real estate. Anyone filing forms with false information faces a perjury charge.

"I think folks are just a little nervous, wanting to make sure they get it done right," said Sen. Jack Snow, R-Cherokee.

Lawmakers, judges and commission members filed into the Ethics Commission office, asked questions and filled out their forms. More than 4,000 economic interest statements started piling up on tables and in boxes, which officials said is more than twice the number filed in past years.

"It's been extremely busy," said Perry Newson, executive director of the Ethics Commission. "They're taking it very seriously, and along with that comes a whole lot of questions to this office."

Every ethics form is open to public inspection under the new law, but all ethics hearings will be conducted behind closed doors.

"I think it's been more of an aggravation. The conversation is we're hoping we're doing it right," said state Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gaston.


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  • willis2 Mar 21, 2007

    Rule #1 of new ethics laws - "Don't get caught"

  • GWALLY Mar 16, 2007

    "I hope we're doing it right", "I think people are a little nervous"......what kind of idiot would even think, must less say such a thing, given what has been proven already??? Still got something to hide, hmmmmmmm......must be a government employee!!!!!

  • no1special Mar 15, 2007

    Isn't it a hoot that our most highly educated,most professional, lawmakers,judges,comission members should even need something like an ethics commisson to keep tabs on them. Its probably mostly for show anyway. We have some of the best politicans money can buy. I know I feel better that they are complying with the new ethics rules...right!

  • superman Mar 15, 2007

    If they rushing to file-- there surely must be a fox in the hen house. I hope they dont mind the aggravation-- filing and paying taxes is not fun either. And I imagin there are maybe several hundred state employees who are not having to file.