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State ethics panel delays posting judges' financial disclosures

March 15, 2012 |  4:31 pm

The state Fair Political Practices Commission decided Thursday to delay posting financial interest statements by 2,500 elected judges on the Internet after representatives said they feared the easy access to personal information would put them in danger.

The commission's staff had proposed that the judges’ statements be posted on the Web, excluding information that might pose a security problem, such as the address of a condo owned by a judge and rented to the judge's college-age daughter. The delay until at least May was approved to develop guidelines for determining which information should be excluded from posting on the commission's website.

The California Judges Assn. requested that the statements detailing their investments, real estate holdings and gifts received be kept at state offices for public inspection to make it harder for people with ill intent to determine where judges and their family members live and work.

"Even the redacted forms can lead to harm," said Superior Court Judge David Rubin, president of the California Judges Assn.

Commissioner Ronald D. Rotunda was the lone vote against the delay, saying it gives judges a "special exemption"' to rules that apply to all other elected officials and that are aimed at identifying conflicts of interest.

He was skeptical about allowing the judges an exemption. "It looks like the judges don't want the public to know how rich they are,"' he said.

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

 

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