Politics & Government

Berryhill has yet to file required financial disclosure forms

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 non-partisan 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.

"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-Atwater, 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.

Goodwin reported earning $4,800 for her work last year as a trustee of the Madera Unified School District. She also reported having a credit card debt of between $10,000 and $15,000.

The heavily favored Denham reported that he earned a $140,000 company bonus from his Salinas-based Denham Plastics firm, on top of his $11,000 state Senate salary. He also reported earning between $15,000 and $50,000 from his Atwater farm, located off Longview Avenue.

Most of the financial reporting covers wide ranges rather than specific dollar amounts.

Republican candidate Andy Vidak, for instance, reports in one part of his form that his Hanford farm earned somewhere between $100,001 and $1 million last year. Vidak's Democratic opponent in the 20th Congressional District, Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno, reports a similar income range for his Fresno County farm.