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D.C. Receives Failing Grade For Financial Disclosures By Judges

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A watchdog group gives the District a failing grade over the lack of disclosure from its top judges.

The Center For Public Integrity evaluated the disclosure rules regarding the personal finances of judges in the highest state courts around the country. These judges often serve in what are known as the courts of last resort.

In the District, the center looked at the D.C. Court of Appeals. The group found the court actually has strong disclosure requirements compared with most states.

Kytjia Weir with the center says judges are required to fill out an eight-page form filled with key questions about conflicts of interest and personal finances. That's not enough, though.

"The problem is they only release one page of that report to the public, and that has very minimal information about charitable affiliations and any honoria they receive. It doesn't say anything about investments, real estate they may own, gifts they have received, reimbursements, income that they or their spouses or children have earned," she explains.

These answers are kept confidential and reviewed internally by the D.C.'s Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure. That's why the center gave D.C. an  F in its report.

A spokesperson for the commission says the decision on what it can release and what must be kept confidential is determined by a congressional statute.

D.C. not alone β€” 43 states also earned failing grades in the report.

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