The old saying goes that the only things for certain in life are death and taxes. Well, for many local government officials in Oregon, you can add the annual verified statement of economic interests (SEI) to that list. Mostly, it is elected officials, members of planning commissions and the chief administrative officer of a local government, such as the city manager, who must file an SEI. A list of who is required to file an SEI may be found in ORS 244.050. The Oregon Government Ethics Commission (OGEC) will be sending the 2012 SEI form to local government officials who are required to file an SEI in early March. SEIs are like your taxes – on the forms you must disclose information regarding the previous calendar year. As such, on your 2012 SEI, you will disclose the economic interests you held between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011, even if you didn’t hold office during that entire period.
SEIs must be filed with OGEC. SEIs that are postmarked on or before the due date will be accepted as filed on the due date. Although not required, you may wish to send the form to OGEC by certified mail because a certified mail receipt will assure that you will not be penalized if your completed form is lost in the mail. In addition, you might wish make a copy of a completed form and retain it for your records in case your form is lost in the mail.
Filers should keep in mind that the requirement to file an SEI is the personal responsibility of the public official. A public official who fails to timely file an SEI is subject to civil penalties in the amount of $10 for each of the first 14 days after the filing deadline and $50 for each day thereafter until the aggregate penalty reaches the maximum of $5,000.