WASHINGTON -- San Joaquin Valley congressional candidate Mike Berryhill faces a potential fine because he hasn't filed a required financial disclosure report.
The forms were due May 15, so members of the public could know about candidates' debts, assets and potential conflicts of interest. As of Thursday, though, Berryhill hadn't submitted the document to the clerk of the House.
"If someone is skirting the requirements for filing, it should be of concern to voters," Dave Levinthal, spokesman for the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, said Thursday. "You have to wonder what they're hiding."
But Berryhill's campaign spokesman, Randy Brown, said Thursday that Berryhill "has provided all the information to his accountant," who's supposed to act soon.
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"His accountant filed a request for an extension and expects to submit the forms next week," Brown said.
Federal law typically provides for filing deadline extensions of up to 90 days. For Berryhill, who is running against Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced, the filing deadline expired about 135 days ago.
In theory, the Ethics in Government Act permits civil fines of up to $11,000 to be imposed on individuals who fail to file necessary reports, or who file false reports. A late filing fee of $200 may also be assessed.
Levinthal said large fines are not very common, though unmet reporting obligations do periodically become campaign controversies.
This week, for instance, Alaska Republican Senate candidate and tea party favorite Joe Miller came under Democratic fire for not having filed his required financial statement. Miller's campaign spokesman called the failure an accidental oversight.
All of the San Joaquin Valley's current congressional incumbents have filed the form. Cardoza, for instance, reports earning between $15,001 and $50,000 for renting out his Atwater home.
The region's other challengers also have filed their reports, including those generally deemed to be long shots.
Underfunded Democratic candidate Loraine Goodwin, for instance, is running against state Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Merced, in the 19th Congressional District, which stretches from Modesto to Fresno via the Sierra Nevada.
Though their candidacies appear to be mismatched, both Goodwin and Denham filed the necessary financial disclosure forms.