It is the policy of the State Ethics Commission to protect the privacy of personal information not otherwise required to be disclosed in accordance with the financial disclosure or lobbying provisions of the Ethics Law, the Public Information Act, or as otherwise necessary to carry out the duties of the Commission.
Financial Disclosure Records
The Maryland Public Ethics Law (Maryland Code Annotated, General Provisions Article, Title 5)requires the Commission to collect financial disclosure and related statements filed by public and State officials, to determine whether the statements comply with the Public Ethics Law, and to provide access for the public to examine or copy the statements in accordance with § 5-606 of the Public Ethics Law. The information may be reviewed by the staff of the State Ethics Commission and disclosed to any requesting person, including any State, local or federal government official, who records his or her name and home address; and the record of access will be provided to the filer upon request. The filer has the right to review, correct, and amend the record as set forth in Md. Code Ann., General Provisions § 4-502. Failure to file or report information required by Subtitle 6 of the Ethics Law can subject a filer to civil and administrative penalties, including termination or other disciplinary action, a late filing fee of up to $500, suspension of pay and a civil fine of up to $5,000 per offense. Willful and false filing is subject to criminal penalty for perjury pursuant to Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 9-101.
Registration and Disclosure Records
The Public Ethics Law requires the collection of lobbying information, which will be used primarily for public disclosure. The information may be disclosed to any requesting person, including but not limited to State, local or federal government officials. The filer has the right to review, correct and amend the record as set forth in the Ethics Law and Md. Code Ann., General Provisions § 4-502. Failure to register (if statutory criteria are met) or to file an activity report (if registered during a reporting period) may result in civil and administrative penalties as set forth in Subtitle 7 of the Ethics Law, including a fine not exceeding $5,000 for each violation. Knowing and willful failure to comply can result in criminal sanctions, including a fine of not more that $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than one (1) year or both. Additionally, if the Commission finds that the lobbyist has submitted a late lobbying registration form, activity report, or any other required filing, it may assess late fees of $10.00 per day not to exceed $1,000. Willful and false filing is subject to criminal sanction under the Ethics Law and to the penalties of perjury as provided in Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 9-101, Annotated Code of Maryland.
Enforcement and Advisory Opinion Records
The Public Ethics Law (Title 5, Subtitles 3 and 4) and Commission regulations (COMAR 19A.01.01.04) require strict confidentiality requirements be applied to these records, which are collected for enforcement and advice interpretation purposes. Unless and until there is a finding of violation in an enforcement matter, and except for limited statutorily defined disclosure of a complainant, enforcement records of the Commission may not be disclosed and Commission regulations prohibit staff from confirming or denying the existence of any matter. The same is true of advisory opinion records, except that formally issued advisory opinions are published in the Maryland Register and COMAR with identifying information deleted to the extent feasible. Access to records by the subject is permitted as provided in the Public Information Act.