Social Question

Buttonstc's avatar

At what point is a presidential candidate required to make his financial matters public?

Asked by Buttonstc (27597points) June 17th, 2015

How long can they stall this disclosure after officially declaring?

When does the hammer come down on foot-draggers?

Who does it and what form does it take?

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3 Answers

SavoirFaire's avatar

Presidential candidates have until April 15 to submit their financial disclosure reports. If they become a candidate on or after April 15, they have 30 days to submit their report. Candidates can apply for a maximum of two extensions of up to 45 days each (subject to approval from the FEC). Once a report is overdue by 30 days or more, candidates are fined $200 by the FEC and may be investigated by the Department of Justice (which could result in further fines up to $5,000). As far as I can tell from reading the law (PL 95–521, the Ethics in Government Act of 1978), the only way that failure to disclose could result in disqualification is if a candidate refused to submit the report until seven days before the election—and even that is not spelled out explicitly.

Buttonstc's avatar

Thanks for that terrifically precise answer.

So, if the SEC plays along, he could conceivably drag this out for about another four months or so, all the while reaping that free publicity.

Who wants to bet he finds some sort of pretext to withdraw a day or so before that absolute deadline?

I have a really hard time picturing him opening up the books for others to see.

But time will tell…

SavoirFaire's avatar

I take it we’re talking about Trump? Yeah, he could drag it out for about four months without penalty, and pretty much as long as he wants if he thinks the publicity is worth more than the maximum combined fines ($5,200). He has promised to file the documents on time without seeking extensions, though, and the financial disclosure reports don’t include tax returns (which are released voluntarily as a matter of political tradition rather than federal law). A lot of the information he would have to release is stuff we could already guess, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he spent some time sanitizing his current holdings before announcing (something I assume every candidate does).

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