By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Gov. Haley Barbour and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, along with more than 1,000 public officials from throughout the state, will be notified next week that they missed the May 1 deadline to file their ethics reports.
According to records at the Mississippi Ethics Commission, Barbour and Hosemann are the only two of the eight statewide elected officials to miss the deadline.
“We are aware and we are working on it,” said Laura Hipp, a spokeswoman for Barbour.
Pamela Weaver, a Hosemann spokeswoman, said in a separate interview, “We are aware of it now and we are working on it.”
Under Mississippi’s ethics laws, which were strengthened in 2008, public officials are supposed to file all sources of income of more than $2,500, all stock holdings of more than $5,000 and all official positions in businesses.
Those rules apply for adults living full-time in the household of the public official.
The Ethics Commission is supposed to notify via letter the public officials who do not file. Then the public official will have 15 days to file a report.
After 15 days, the public official who does not file will be assessed a fine of $10 per day. If the report is not filed within a year, the public official will be charged with a misdemeanor.
The notification letters will go out next week.
Public officials not filing reports, according to Ethics Commission records, include 10 legislators: Sens. Johnnie Walls, D-Greenville, and Debbie Dawkins, D-Pass Christian; and Reps. Donnie Bell, D-Fulton, Bryant Clark, D-Pickens, Alyce Clarke, D-Jackson; Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville, Jack Gadd, D-Hickory Flat; Esther Harrison, D-Columbus; Jeff Smith, D-Columbus, and Steve Holland, D-Plantersville.
“I promise you I thought I filed that,” said Bell. “I apologize, and it will be taken care of next week.”
Holland said he did fill out the report, and that he thought it was filed with the Ethics Commission. He said he would check on it to find out the problem.
“I am positive I went through that litany,” he said.
Tom Hood, executive director of the Ethics Commission, said work is being done to set up a system to allow public officials to file online.
Contact Bobby Harrison at (601) 353-3119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.