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Hawaii Ethics Commission Changes Interpretation of Financial Disclosure Law

Categories: ethics, Hawaii

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission voted Wednesday to withhold from the public all financial disclosure statements filed by public officials prior to July 8. The decision came in response to a new law expanding the list of financial disclosure statements to be made publicly available.

More than two dozen volunteer board members resigned since the bill’s passing, citing privacy concerns over the release of information regarding income, investments, real estate holdings, and business interests of members, their spouses, and their dependent children.

Les Kondo, executive director of the Ethics Commission, initially interpreted the law as requiring public disclosure of statements already on file. A state deputy attorney general recently found retroactive application of the law to be inappropriate; the financial information of those who resigned will remain confidential and active members’ statements will not be made public until filing again in 2015.

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