The State Ethics Commission will put a searchable database of economic interest forms back online in 2015, though without including the personal contact information of filers.
The Commission voted Friday to approve an amended version of the form – which doesn’t include home address and contact information – which will be made available in 2015 to the public in an online searchable. A separate form with the filer’s contact information will still be considered a public record and available to the public upon request.
The state Ethics Commission began posting statements of economic interest for hundreds of public officials this summer, but took down the searchable database after fielding complaints from judicial branch officials worried about the easy accessibility of their personal information.
Statements of economic interest are required to be filed annually by state elected officials, some state employees in decision making roles and those who serve on many state boards. The forms require disclosures about sources of income, stocks and properties owned as well as information about individual’s spouses and immediate family members.
Gov. Pat McCrory was criticized earlier this year when he filed an ethics form misstating that he sold his Duke Energy stock in 2013, when the stock had been sold in the spring of 2014, after the coal-ash spill at a Duke-owned plant near the Dan River. McCrory filed an amended ethics form correcting the information, and has said his lawyer misunderstood what what time period the ethics disclosure form was inquiring about.
Also on Friday, the N.C. Ethics Commission ruled that the Academic Standards Review Commission is not considered a covered board by the State Ethics Act, on the basis that the committee is advisory and academic standards board members are not making final decisions about policy. The academic standards group, which is meeting on Monday, is tasked with reviewing and making recommendations about replacing the state education system’s Common Core State Standards.