Referring to “technical errors” in previously submitted financial disclosure forms required by Congress, Republican Tennessee Senator Bob Corker has proffered documents which disclose personal assets far exceeding prior reports.
According to amended documents filed last week, the errors in previous filings account for several million dollars in personal wealth which had gone unreported.
Corker’s office released a statement on the matter which read:
“I am extremely disappointed in the filing errors that were made in earlier financial disclosure reports, and after completing a full, third-party review, we have corrected this oversight.”
Eighty-three individual changes were reported in new paperwork re-submitted to Senate Office of Public Records.
Among the more glaring errors is an amendment in 2014 which valued Corker’s stake in Corker Development Corp. Initial filings estimated the value at $1,000–$15,000; amended documents rate its worth exceeding $500,000.
Acknowledging the errors in a letter to the Secretary of the Senate and Ethics Committee, Corker informed both bodies he had hired an independent accounting firm to re-assess his past statements and had re-filed paperwork with the Office of Public Records.
“I have gone to great lengths, and in some cases beyond what is required by the reporting guidelines to ensure all of my filings are beyond reproach, by hiring an independent third-party accounting firm to review and audit all of my previous annual financial disclosures,” the letter read.
While Corker ranks high on transparency and has an unblemished ethics record in the Senate, this issue remains deeply troubling, occurs far too often among our elected leaders and smacks of impropriety.
While Corker is not accused of wrongdoing, at minimum, this suggests a disengagement indicating he has grown too comfortable in Washington.
And what of Corker’s former accounting firm? One can reliably hypothesize a firm handling a U.S. senator’s personal finances would be well versed in Senate ethics rules, not to mention an intimate familiarity with its client. How could an accounting firm undervalue Corker’s stake in a development company by over $400,000?
Instead of Corker placing a higher premium on those who handle his personal finances, perhaps voters in Tennessee should place a higher premium on their representatives.
Americans are deeply distrustful of politicians who accumulate wealth while serving in public office. Although Corker achieved financial success prior to arriving in the Senate, matters relating to personal income and wealth are always subject to greater scrutiny and typically arouse the wrong kind of suspicion once one becomes an officeholder.
This is one reason millions of Americans have grown contemptuous of politicians and maintain an image of Washington, D.C., as a wretched hive of scum and villainy.
Corker better be telling the truth.
[OpenSecrets.org] [USA Today] [Media.cq.com] [Photo courtesy RedState.com]