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Gov. Brown considers new financial disclosure rules for politicians

August 24, 2012 |  8:35 am

Californians would get a more precise picture of their public officials’ personal finances under a measure being considered by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The state Senate sent the governor a measure that reflects the reality that the state’s current financial disclosure forms don’t do a good job of showing the income and investments of today’s politicians, many of whom are multimillionaires.

About 200,000 public officials are required to file forms that detail their sources of income and the amounts they receive but only in broad categories, the largest of which are "$10,001 to $100,000" and "over $100,000." Under the current rules, a politician could have a $3-million annual source of income and he would only have to disclose that it is "over $100,000."

The bill on the governor’s desk would require public officials to disclose income in low ranges, but also whether their income is:

--More than $250,000 but not greater than $500,000.

--More than $500,000 but not greater than $1 million.

--More than $1 million but not greater than $5 million.

--More than $5 million but not greater than $10 million.

--More than $10 million.

The last categories would provide more financial details about wealthy office-seekers such as Meg Whitman, the multimillionaire former candidate for governor.

The current forms have not been updated for 35 years and are "way out-of-date," said Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada-Flintridge), who authored AB 2162.

"As it stands now, the broad financial ranges on the form make it impossible to have an accurate picture of what an officeholder’s financial obligations are,'' Portantino said. "I want to change that and bring more transparency to this important issue."


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) won approval of a bill to require elected officials to be more precise in reporting their personal finances. Credit: Associated Press