An official with the state’s Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance said he is “at a loss” to explain why the bureau was unaware that a member of the Tullahoma City Board of Education had not filed financial disclosure forms required by state law for three consecutive years. According to the Tullahoma News, the Tennessee Ethics Commission website, board member John Manis has not filed a statement of disclosure in interests since 2009, when he was a candidate for the seat he currently holds. However, Tullahoma Board of Education member Teresa Lawson had also apparently not filed in two years during her term. Manis said yesterday –an official with the bureau confirmed – that he had not received the form or any notice of delinquency. Elected officials throughout the state are required to submit the disclosure forms annually, regardless of whether or not they are running for re-election. The forms require officials to report a variety of financial information, related to sources of income, investments, lobbying, professional services, retainer fees, bankruptcy and loans. However, respondents are not required to provide specific figures for any of the reporting categories. According to John B. Allyn, counsel for the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, a person who fails to file a statement of interest within 35 days of receiving an assessment notice from the Tennessee Ethics Commission is subject to civil 1 penalty of $25 per day up to a maximum of $750. Someone who is more than 35 days late in filing a statement of interest is subject to a Class 2 civil penalty of up to $10,000. Each year a disclosure report is not filed would constitute a separate offense. When contacted by The News for comment on why he had not filed the financial disclosures, Manis said he did not recall receiving the paperwork. Shortly after speaking with The News, Manis contacted the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance to investigate the matter himself and called back later claiming that the state never sent out a deficiency letter because he stated that he was not in their database. He stated that he submitted the three forms yesterday. He claimed that the state had an old mailing address so he faxed the forms in.
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