Friday, December 14, 2018

BREAKING: Sen. Kyl Will Still Need To File Financial Disclosure Statement - Even If He's Already Gone

It has apparently become a universally-accepted fact that a key reason Arizona Senator* Jon Kyl is resigning on December 31 is so he will not need to file the Senate's Personal Financial Disclosure statement that all federal elected officials (and, some in their offices) are obligated to file. It is unlikely that it was a motivation, because Kyl will still be required to file his statement.

The widely-accepted speculation centered around Kyl's inter-Senatorial stint (2013-18) as a high-powered lobbyist at one of the nation's biggest lobbying law firms (Covington & Burling). Arizona's Politics first reported on Kyl's financial disclosure statement back when he first announced his retirement from the Senate, in 2011. He then had a mid-range net worth estimate of $554k, which ranked him as only the 82nd richest member of that body. (Bonus fun fact: he said then he did not want to be a lobbyist.)

Soon after Governor Doug Ducey appointed him to fill out at least a portion of the late Senator John McCain's term, Kyl asked for an extension from the October 5 deadline to file his new disclosure statement, and it was granted. His new filing date is January 3.

So, the extension request combined with Kyl's initial announcement that he might only serve a few months to create the impression. And, the savvy Senator seemed to encourage that impression to flourish. Arizona's Politics has asked him, his staff and associates several times during the past 2+ months whether or not he would file the disclosure statement. (We have been asking many other questions, as well.) Crickets.

The assumption that the filing requirement would vanish if he was not in the Senate on January 3 thus flourished. However, the law does not allow for such a work-around.

The Ethics In Government Act (which Sen. Kyl helped amend in 2012), published in part below,  require reports to be filed by an individual who serves in an office for at least 60 days. And, even after leaving the government position, the individual has 30 days to file a report for the calendar year that he was in office. (Subsections (d) and (e).) Kyl will have served 117 days as of December 31.

Interestingly, the law does permit Senator Kyl to request a WAIVER of the disclosure statement requirement if he served fewer than 130 days. However, the Secretary of the Senate could only approve such a request if he was not a full-time employee, if his services were "specially needed by the Government", if his "outside employment or financial interests" were unlikely to create a conflict of interest, and if the disclosure "is not necessary in the circumstances." Even if Kyl requested such a waiver, it is highly unlikely the Senate could reasonably approve it. (Subsection (i).)

Arizona's Politics has (again) reached out to Sen. Kyl for comment, and will update as needed.

(Arizona's Politics has published several articles about Sen. Kyl, his lobbying and sherpaing, and his disclosures. Here are a few:

BREAKING, WATCH: Arizona Senator Kyl's Presentation Supporting Kavanaugh Confirmation 
NEW! AZ Sen. Jon Kyl Did Work For Dark Money Giant JCN In Preparing For This Supreme Court Vacancy - How Much Involved Kavanaugh?
MOUNTAINS OF MONEY: Arizona's Sen. Jon Kyl Is Top Sherpa For Trump Administration, Lobbyist For Dark Money Judicial Crisis Network 
"16-Year (So Far) Senate Career Has Not Been (Financially) Rewarding For Arizona Senator Jon Kyl...Yet"  (a real oldie!))

*Technically, "former-, current- and future-former-Senator".

(This article was contributed by Tempe attorney Paul Weich.)

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