Loading...
700-S FowlerVNI PHONE 717-783-1610 TOLL FREE 1-800-932-0936 In Re: Deborah A. Fowler, Respondent STATE ETHICS COMMISSION FINANCE BUILDING # Before: File Docket: -ref: Date Date Decided: Date Mailed. FACSIMILE: 717-787-0806 WEBSITE: M6LN.ethics.Da.a0V 21-03 1 -P Order No. 700-S 9/15/21 9/17/21 Nicholas A. Colafella, Chair Mark R. Corrigan, Vice Chair Roger Nick Melanie DePalma Michael A. Schwartz Shelley Y. Simms This is a final adjudication of the State Ethics Commission as to the alleged delinquency and/or deficiency of Statement(s) of Financial Interests required to be filed pursuant to Sections 1104 and 1105 of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ("Ethics Act"), 65 Pa.C.S, § 1101 �et sec. The Investigative Division initiated these proceedings by filing with the State Ethics Commission and serving upon Respondent a Petition for Civil Penalties. An Order to Show Cause was issued to Respondent. A Stipulation of Findings and a Consent Agreement were subsequently submitted by the parties to the Commission for consideration. The Stipulated Findings are set forth as the Findings in this Order. The Consent Agreement has been approved. 1. FINDINGS: Respondent Deborah A. Fowler ("Respondent") is an adult individual who resides or maintains a mailing address at [address redacted]. 2. At all times relevant to these proceedings, Respondent has been a Tax Examiner 2 with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, and as such, Respondent has at all times relevant to these proceedings been a "'public employee" as defined in Section 1102 of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. 6 1102. Respondent, as a public employee, is subject to the Statement of Financial Interests filing provisions of the Ethics Act. 4. Respondent failed to timely provide full financial disclosure as required by the Ethics Act, Respondent failed to timely file a Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2019, which [Statement of Financial Interests was to be filed] by May 1, 2020. Respondent has therefore violated Sections 1104 and 1105 of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. §§ 1104, 1105. Fowlei, 21-031-P Page 2 5, By Notice Letter dated November 18, 2020, Respondent was served with Notice in accordance with Section 1107(5) of the Ethics Act of the specific allegations against Respondent concerning the above transgression. Said Notice Letter provided Respondent an opportunity to avoid the institution of these civil penalty proceedings by filing an accurate and complete Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2019 within twenty (20) days of the date of the Notice Letter. Respondent has failed and/or otherwise refused to file a Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2019 so as to comply with the specific requirements of the Ethics Act. 6. By Notice Letter dated December 15, 2020, Respondent was served with Notice in accordance with Section 1107(5) of the Ethics Act of the specific allegations against Respondent concerning the above transgression. Said Notice Letter provided Respondent an opportunity to avoid the institution of civil penalty proceedings by filing an accurate and complete Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2019 so as to comply with the specific requirements of the Ethics Act. 7. Respondent failed to file her Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2019 with the State Ethics Commission by the deadlines imposed in the Notice Letters. L� ��I�Y�Ii�X� �1�►� As a Tax Examiner 2 for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue ("Department of Revenue"), Deborah A. Fowler ("Fowler") was at all times relevant to these proceedings a "public employee" subject to the provisions of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ("Ethics Act"), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1101 et seMc . Pursuant to Section 1104(a) of the Ethics Act, Fowler was specifically required to file a Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2019 with the Department of Revenue on or before May 1, 2020. Section 1 I04(a) provides: § 1104. Statement of financial interests required to be filed (a) Public official or public employee. --Each public official of the Commonwealth shall file a statement of financial interests for the preceding calendar year with the commission no later than May 1 of each year that he holds such a position and of the year after he leaves such a position. Each public employee and public official of the Commonwealth shall file a statement of financial interests for the preceding calendar year with the department, agency, body or bureau in which he is employed or to which he is appointed or elected no later than May 1 of each year that he holds such a position and of the year after he leaves such a position. Any other public employee or public official shall file a statement of financial interests with the governing authority of the political subdivision by which he is employed or within which he is appointed or elected no later than May 1 of each year that he holds such a position and of the year after he leaves such a position. Persons who are full-time or part-time solicitors for political subdivisions are required to file under this section. Fowler 21-031-P Page 3 65 Pa.C.S. § 1104(a). The complete financial disclosure which Fowler as a Tax Examiner 2 for the Department of Revenue was required to provide in the Statement of Financial Interests form is statutorily mandated in detail at Section 1105 of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1105. Section 1109(f) of the Ethics Act provides as follows: § 1109. Penalties (f) Civil penalty.-- In addition to any other civil remedy or criminal penalty provided for in this chapter, the commission may, after notice has been served in accordance with section 1107(5) (relating to powers and duties of commission) and upon a majority vote of its members, levy a civil penalty upon any person subject to this chapter who fails to file a statement of financial interests in a timely manner or who files a deficient statement of financial interests, at a rate of not more than $25 for each day such statement remains delinquent or deficient. The maximum penalty payable under this paragraph is $250. 65 Pa.C.S. § 1109(f). An application of Section 1109(f) to this case establishes that this Commission has the discretion to levy a maximum civil penalty against Fowler for the delinquent Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2019. The prerequisite service of a Notice letter in accordance with Section 1107(5) was satisfied. Fowler did not remedy the failure to comply with the Ethics Act although given more than the usual grace period following Notice in which to do so. The Investigative Division then instituted formal proceedings against Fowler by filing with this Commission and serving upon her a Petition for Civil Penalties. The Commission Chair issued an Order to Show Cause, ordering Fowler to show cause why a civil penalty should not be levied against her. The parties thereafter filed a Stipulation of Findings and Consent Agreement. The parties propose that this case be resolved by: (1) this Commission finding that Fowler failed to timely file a Statement of Financial Interests for the 2019 calendar year in compliance with Section 1104(a) of the Ethics Act; (2) Fowler making payment of a civil penalty in the amount of $250.00 in settlement of this matter by way of monthly payments of no less than $25.00 each, with each such payment due by the last day of the month and made by forwarding to this Commission a certified check or money order in the amount of no less than $25.00 payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and with the first such payment due within thirty days of the issuance of the final adjudication in this matter; and (3) Fowler filing a complete and accurate Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2019 within thirty days of the issuance of the final adjudication in this matter. We believe that the Consent Agreement sets forth a proper disposition for this case, based upon our review of the totality of the facts and circumstances. Accordingly, we approve the Fowler, 21-031-P Page 4 Consent Agreement that has been submitted by the parties. We hereby find that Fowler, as a Tax Examiner 2 for the Department of Revenue, failed to timely file a Statement of Financial Interests for the 2019 calendar year in compliance with Section 1104(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1104(a). Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, we hereby levy one civil penalty against Fowler in the total amount of $250.00 for Fowler's delinquent Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2019. Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Fowler shall be ordered to make payment of the aforesaid civil penalty in the total amount of $250.00 by way of monthly payments of no less than $25.00 each, with each such payment to be due by the last day of the month and made by forwarding to this Commission a certified check or money order in the amount of no less than $25.00 payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for deposit in the State Treasury, and with the first such payment to be due by no later than the thirtieth (30'h) day after the mailing date of this adjudication and Order. To the extent she has not already done so, Fowler shall be ordered to file a complete and accurate Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2019 with the Department of Revenue by no later than the thirtieth (30"') day after the mailing date of this adjudication and Order, with one copy forwarded to this Commission for compliance verification purposes. As a Tax Examiner 2 for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, Deborah A. Fowler ("Fowler") was at all times relevant to these proceedings a "public employee" subject to the provisions of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ("Ethics Act"), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1101 et sec . 2. Fowler, as a Tax Examiner 2 for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, failed to timely file a Statement of Financial Interests for the 2019 calendar year in compliance with Section 1104(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § I I04(a). 3. Notice of the delinquency of Fowler's Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2019 was previously served upon her in accordance with Section 1107(5) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1107(5). 4. Based upon the totality of the circumstances in this case, a civil penalty in the total amount of $250.00 is warranted. In Re: Deborah A. Fowler, File Docket: 21-031-P Respondent Date Decided: 9/15/21 Date Mailed: 9/17/21 ORDER NO. 7 0 0 - S 1. Deborah A. Fowler ("Fowler"), as a Tax Examiner 2 for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, failed to timely file a Statement of Financial Interests for the 2019 calendar year in compliance with Section 1104(a) of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ("Ethics Act"), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1104(a). 2. Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, we hereby levy one civil penalty against Fowler in the total amount of $250.00 for Fowler's delinquent Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2019. Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Fowler is ordered to make payment of the aforesaid civil penalty in the total amount of $250.00—by way of monthly payments of no less than $25.00 each —as follows: (1) each such payment shall be due by the last day of the month and made by forwarding to this Commission a certified check or money order in the amount of no less than $25.00 payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for deposit in the State Treasury; and (2) the first such payment shall be due by no later than the thirtieth (301h) day after the mailing date of this Order. 4. To the extent she has not already done so, Fowler is ordered to file a complete and accurate Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2019 with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue by no later than the thirtieth (30") day after the mailing date of this Order, with one copy forwarded to this Commission for compliance verification purposes. Failure to comply with Paragraph 3 or 4 of this Order will result in the initiation of an appropriate enforcement action. BY THE COMMISSION, GCa� d Nicholas A. Colafella, VWair