JACKSON – With the filings of ethics reports by Gov. Haley Barbour and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, all eight statewide elected officials have now submitted what are known as their statements of economic interests.
Hosemann and Barbour did not file, though, until state Ethics Commission Executive Director Tom Hood sent them a letter threatening them with a $10-per-day fine and possibly a $10,000 fine if they did not file.
They were the only two of the eight statewide elected officials to miss the May 1 deadline for filing. Spokeswomen for both said it was an oversight.
Overall, Hood said, more than 1,000 public officials missed the May 1 deadline.
Hood said he sent a letter to all of them in early July informing them of the potential penalties if they did not obey the law.
Among those 1,000 officials were 10 legislators, including three from Northeast Mississippi. Those three, Reps. Jack Gadd, D-Hickory Flat, Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, and Donnie Bell, D-Fulton, also said their failure to file by May 1 was an oversight.
All three filed in early July.
Hood said he still was trying to ascertain which officials did not respond to his reminder letter. He said he would at least send out another letter before imposing the $10-per-day fine. Under state law, if a public official misses the deadline by a year for filing the report, a fine of $10,000 can be imposed.
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.
Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal