According to records from the Mississippi Ethics Commission, more than 1,200 failed to file by the May 1 deadline. The list includes scores of local officials, dozens of members of state-level boards and commissions, and a handful of state legislators.
The list goes all the way to Gov. Haley Barbour, who submitted his statement this week after the news media made inquiries about it being late.
“He was just remiss in getting them filed in a timely manner this time,” said Dan Turner, Barbour’s spokesman. Turner said Barbour has been immersed in “pressing state business,” like the recently approved state budget and calling a special session to fund the Public Service Commission.
Noble pursuits all. But whether it’s Gov. Barbour or a county supervisor, “too busy” is an implausible, lame excuse for failing to meet the state’s public disclosure deadline.
When the state government that Barbour leads sets a deadline for taxpayers to pay their taxes and that deadline is ignored because the taxpayers was otherwise occupied, there are consequences.
But for Barbour and other officials who failed to make their required disclosure by the deadline, the “consequence” is a rather inconsequential $10 per day fine after they receive a late notice from the Ethics Commission.