U Memo 19-14

Posted on Jun 26, 2019 in Informal Opinions - UIPA Opinions

U Memo 19-14
June 26, 2019
Financial Disclosure Statements

Requester made a UIPA request to the City and County of Honolulu Ethics Commission (Ethics Commission) for all financial disclosure forms or related documents filed by its former Executive Director and Legal Counsel to the Ethics Commission (Ethics Director) from 2000 to the request date.  The Ethics Commission responded by denying the request based on section 3-8.4 of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu (ROH), which provides that the financial disclosure statements for specified officials are public, and all other financial disclosure forms required by the City are confidential.

OIP concluded that although a county ordinance providing confidentiality for a record is not a “state or federal law,” Article XIV of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii (Constitution) is a state law protecting records from disclosure for the purpose of section 92F-13(4), HRS.  However, in OIP Opinion Letter Number 95-14, OIP concluded that Article XIV “makes confidential only the financial information disclosed by those making confidential financial disclosures,” and did not apply to other associated information such as the names of individual filers and their dates of filing.  Thus, based on Article XIV, the financial information in financial disclosure statements was properly withheld under the UIPA’s exception for records protected by law.  HRS § 92F-13(4) (2012).  Of the remaining information, the names of any dependent children were properly withheld under the UIPA’s privacy exception.  HRS § 92F‑13(1) (2012).  The filer’s name, position title, and employing agency, the identity of the filer’s agency personnel officer, the government salary range information included in the form, and the date of filing did not fall under an exception to the UIPA and thus must be disclosed.  HRS §§ 92F-12(a)(14) and -13 (2012).