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Interpretative Opinion 09-04: Financial Disclosure Requirements

March 10, 2009

Andrew Alberg
2100 F Street, NW, Apt. 504
Washington, DC 20052

Re: Financial Disclosure Requirements for Chancellor, Michelle Rhee

Dear Mr. Alberg:

This responds to your request for an opinion concerning whether Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools, is required to file an annual Financial Disclosure Statement with the Office of Campaign Finance (OCF).

D.C. Official Code § 1-1106.02 (2001 Edition) provides that “[a]ny candidate for election, or election, to public office at the time he or she becomes a candidate, who does not occupy any such office, shall file within one month after he or she becomes a candidate for such office, and the Mayor and the Chairman and each member of the Council of the District of Columbia holding office under the District of Self Government and Government Home Rule Act, a Representative or Senator elected pursuant to § 1-123, the President and each member of the Board of Education, and persons serving as subordinate agency heads or serving in positions designated as within the Legal or Excepted Service (regardless of date of appointment) and paid at a rate of GS-13 … shall file annually with the Board” an FDS form.

In view of the fact that the Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools, like her predecessor the Superintendent of Public Schools, serves as a subordinate agency head, she does fall within the realm of employees of the District government who are required to file an annual Financial Disclosure Statement (FDS).

However, as you accurately pointed out, Chancellor Rhee’s FDS filing status has been marked on the OCF website as “terminated”. That information was incorrect. Accordingly, the website has been revised to correctly reflect that she is indeed a required filer within the provisions of the FDS program.

For your information, Chancellor Rhee has been advised of her obligation to submit an annual FDS on or before May 15th of each year during which she is employed by the District government for at least 30 days.

The foregoing is an Interpretative Opinion of the Director of the Office of Campaign Finance. Pursuant to D.C. Official Code §1-1103.05, you are entitled to request an Advisory Opinion from the Board of Elections and Ethics on this transaction or activity.

Should you have any additional questions, please contact William O. SanFord, Senior Staff Attorney, at (202) 671-0550.