David Shapiro, the Democratic candidate in Florida’s 16th Congressional District, violated reporting rules again by failing to disclose his ownership of a Colorado rental condo.
That’s according to the financial disclosure report Shapiro filed with the U.S. House.
It’s the second such reporting violation found during Shapiro’s run for the seat currently held by Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan.
Earlier this month, Shapiro’s campaign admitted an omission in reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission, after failing to list certain in-kind contributions to his campaign. The campaign said those reports would be updated during the next filing.
At issue here is a condominium in Grand County, Colorado. That condo is owned by “Drazmar Colorado, LLC” according to the Grand County Assessor database. Florida Politics confirmed Shapiro has an ownership stake in Drazmar Colorado, LLC.
The property is listed by The Winter Park Lodging Company, a vacation rental management service. A scanning of the “reviews” tab appears to show the property was rented out multiple times per year, from 2014 through 2018.
That’s a problem, according to the “Instruction Guide” put out by the U.S. House Committee on Ethics. Pages 22 and 23 of the guide layout that disclosure in privately held companies, such as LLC’s, is required if it has “generated more than $200 in income during the reporting period.” Shapiro’s most recent report covers the calendar year of 2017.
Neither the LLC nor the condo is listed in Shapiro’s most recent financial disclosure report, according to a review by Florida Politics.
Alex Vuskovic, Shapiro’s campaign manager, issued a statement regarding the omissions.
“We are instructing the accounting firm who filed David’s personal financial disclosure to file an updated disclosure, based on their oversight.” Vuskovic said.”
Page 10 of the ethics guide lays out the potential punishment for filing false disclosure statements. Citing the “False Statements Accountability Act of 1996,” the guide notes that law “provides for a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to five years for knowingly and willfully” making a false statement in a filing.
However, it’s unclear whether Shapiro’s actions rise to the level of “knowing and willful.”
Page 8 of the committee’s guide says, “Generally, unless there is some evidence that errors or omissions are knowing or willful, or appear to be significantly related to other potential violations, the Committee notifies the filer of the error and requires that he or she submit an amendment or provide an explanation or other information explaining why the filer believes an amendment is not necessary. Once an amendment is properly submitted, the Committee takes no further action.”
A 2012 report by the Ethics Committee on errors in financial disclosure forms found “between 30 percent and 50 percent” of submitted statements contain errors or require a correction. More than 95 percent of the time, the filers appear unaware of the errors.
Ironically, that 2012 report was made in response to allegations that Buchanan, Shapiro’s opponent in CD 16, “did not report, in complete and accurate detail, all of the positions or ownership interests he held with several entities” in financial disclosure statements from 2007 to 2010
The committee also found Buchanan “did not accurately report certain income received from those same entities in the same years.” However, the committee deemed those omissions mere “errors.” Buchanan eventually amended the reports and no further action was taken.