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General Assembly members; the Governor; the Governor’s cabinet and cabinet-level staff; and the constitutional officers are required to file the Statement by April 15 each year. [T.C.A. § 2-10-128]
Members of the Supreme Court; members of the court of criminal appeals; members of the court of appeals; each delegate to a constitutional convention; the attorney general; district attorneys general and public defenders for each judicial district; the administrative director of the courts; the executive director of the district attorneys general conference; the state election coordinator; members of the board of probation and parole; members and the executive director of the alcoholic beverage commission; the chancellor of the board of regents and the president of each institution governed by the board of regents; the president of each university governed by a state university board; the president of the University of Tennessee and the chancellor of each separate branch or campus of the University of Tennessee; members of the registry of election finance; members of the Tennessee ethics commission; and local elected officials and members of local planning commissions are required to file the Statement by January 31 of each year. [T.C.A. § 8-50-504]
A Statement of Interests must be filed by anyone in an elected office or anyone who is appointed to an office which is normally an elected office. It does not matter if your position is part time or full time. If your position is elected, you must file a Statement of Interests.
Candidates for all of the above mentioned offices that are elective are required to file the Statement no later than 30 days after the last day to qualify as a candidate. (See Question #4.)
Appointees to any of the above offices are required to file the Statement within 30 days from the date of appointment. The appointing authority is required to notify the Commission of any such appointment within three days of appointment. [T.C.A. § 8-50-501(b)] If the office falls under the April 15 deadline, the appointee should file the ss-8004 form. Likewise, if the office falls under the January 31 deadline, the appointee should file the ss-8005.
The Statement may be filed electronically (https://apps.tn.gov/conflict/) or by paper. You can download the form from the Commission’s website (http://www.tn.gov/tec/) or contact (615-741-7959) the Commission to have the form mailed to you. If filing by paper, the Statement should be mailed to the Commission at Tennessee Tower, 26th Floor, 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, Nashville, TN 37243 or can be left in the drop box in the WRS Tennessee Tower located near the
Tennessee State Parks Gift Store on the 2nd floor adjacent to the entrance from Rosa Parks Boulevard.
The Statement of Interest is not a campaign finance disclosure. It is a personal statement of disclosure. You are required to identify information such as sources of income, investments, etc. You should never enter monetary amounts, account numbers, or social security numbers on the Statement. That information is not required.
No, if you are running for the same office you are not required to file twice in one year.
No, it does not. However, it does require a witness. The witness should be a person other than the filer.
The Commission has the authority to impose civil penalties against a required filer for failing to file a
Statement on time and ignoring subsequent warnings to file. [T.C.A. § 8-50-505]
CLASS ONE (1) OFFENSES. The Commission may impose class one (1) civil penalties of $25 a day up to a maximum of $750 for the late filing of any Statement of Interest required to be filed with the Commission. The law sets specific procedures that must be followed whenever the Commission discovers that a Statement has not been filed [T.C.A. § 3-6-205(a)(1)]
The Commission must notify the filer by personal service or by return receipt required mail that the report has not been received and that civil penalties of $25 a day will begin to accrue five days after receipt of the notice until the report is filed or for thirty days, whichever occurs first. [T.C.A. §3-6-205(a)(1)(A)]
Civil penalties will not be assessed if the Statement is filed within that five-day grace period.
CLASS TWO (2) OFFENSES. The Commission also has the authority to impose civil penalties of up to$10,000. A class two offense is the failure to file a report within thirty five days of service of notice.[T.C.A. § 3-6-205(a)(2)]
The law requires the Commission to send an assessment letter to the filer before any class two (2) civil penalties are imposed by the Commission, advising the filer of the factual basis of the violation, the maximum penalty and the date that a response must be filed. [T.C.A. § 3-6-205(a)(2)(A)]
CONTESTED PENALTIES. To appeal any penalty imposed by the Commission, a person must file a petition with the Commission. [T.C.A. §3-6-205(a)(2)(B).
A candidate for state public office who fails to file the Statement shall be ineligible to qualify for election to any state public office until the statement is filed with the Commission. [T.C.A. § 3-6-205(b)]
TCA § 8-50-502(5) requires disclosure of certain travel. However, disclosure is not required when travel expenses are paid by an established and recognized organization of elected or appointed state government officials, staff of state government officials, or both officials and staff (and umbrella organizations thereof). In order to facilitate compliance with both the rule and statute, the following list of organizations appears to fall within the exception:
- National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL)
- Council of State Governments (CSG) & regional conferences (i.e. Southern Leg. Conf. – SLC)
- National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL)
- National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL)
- National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (NOBEL)
- American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
- Senate Presidents’ Forum (SPF)
- The State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF)
- National Council of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL)
- National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL)
- National Asian Pacific American Caucus of State Legislators (NAPACSL)
- National Council of Legislators From Gaming States (NCLGS)
- National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses (NASC)
- Republican State Legislators Conference (RSLC)
- Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC)
Lobbyists and Employers of Lobbyists are prohibited from giving any gift (including, but not limited to, food, beverages, money, personal items, travel expenses, loans, and/or discounts), as defined by Tenn. Code Ann. 3-6-301(10), to any candidate for public office, official in the legislative branch, official in the executive branch, or the immediate family of any such individuals, unless the gift meets the requirements of any specific exception to this prohibition, as outlined by Tenn. Code Ann. 3-6-305(b). To determine whether or not a particular exception applies in a given circumstance, you may contact the Tennessee Ethics Commission for guidance at Ethics.Counsel@tn.gov.
If you determine that you have accepted a gift that you should not have accepted, you must not use the gift and you must return it to the lobbyist or employer of a lobbyist within 10 days of either your receipt of the gift or when you become aware that the gift was not permitted, whichever occurs later. If you cannot return the gift, you must reimburse the lobbyist or employer of a lobbyist for the fair market value of the gift within the same time frame. In certain instances, the lobbyist or employer of a lobbyist that provided you with the gift may also need to make certain disclosures to the Tennessee Ethics Commission as outlined by Tenn. Code Ann. 3-6-305(c).
A “state election” is an election held for the purposes of filing a “state public office” as defined by Tenn. Code Ann. 2-10-102(13). A state public office is defined by Tenn. Code Ann. 2-10-102(13)(B) to include the following offices: Governor, Members of the General Assembly, Delegates to a Tennessee Constitutional Convention, District Attorneys General, District Public Defenders, Judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, Judge of the Court of Appeals, Supreme Court Justice, Chancellor, Circuit Court Judge, Criminal Court Judge, and Probate Court Judge.
Further, a local election is an election held for the purpose of filing a “local public office” as defined by Tenn. Code Ann. 2-10-102(13). A local public office is defined by Tenn. Code Ann. 2-10-102(13)(A) to include all other state, county, municipal, school, or other district or precinct office or position, including General Sessions Judge and Juvenile Court Judge, that is not listed in the list of state public offices.