The N.C. Ethics Commission opted Friday to levy fines against 20 people serving on state boards who filed their annual statements of economic interest late.
The forms, which required individuals to divulge the financial interests of themselves and family members living in their home, are supposed to be filed by April 15. The N.C. Ethics Commission, which met on Friday in downtown Raleigh, received more than 6,000 forms this year, which are available via the Internet this year through a searchable database. (Click here to access.)
Among those fined were Atlantic Beach mayor A.B. “Trace” Cooper III; Elbert Richardson, the mayor of Troutman in Iredell County; and Kory Swanson, the president of the John Locke Foundation, a conservative think-tank.
No statewide elected officials or lawmakers faced fines.
Cooper and Richardson were both fined $500 each, for delinquent filings of both their economic interest forms as well as a disclosure form for real estate holdings required for those who sit on regional transportation boards. Cooper, who filed his forms on Aug. 6, is a member of the Down East Rural Transportation Planning Organization. Richardson is a member of the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization and has yet to file his required ethics forms.
State law also required the ethics commission to refer the cases of Cooper, Richardson and four others on regional transportation boards to the State Bureau of Investigation.
Swanson, the John Locke Foundation president, serves on the state’s Seafood Industrial Park Authority, which requires him to file an annual statement of economic interest. Records with the state ethics show he filed a “no change form” on June 24, more than two months late. He was fined $250.
Others who filed their forms late included members of the environmental management commission, N.C. Medical Board, Board of Opticians and two superior court judges.
The ethics commission opted to waive fines for several people who filed late, but who had contacted the Ethics Commission and explained extenuating circumstances, like illnesses or extensive out-of-the-country travel.