Ariz. legislators don’t disclose gifts, resist change

Last year was a busy travel year for state lawmakers, with trade missions to Mexico and Azerbaijan, educational trips and journeys to conferences, state records show.

But at least nine lawmakers did not disclose free trips, despite a requirement in state law to report any gift worth $500 or more.

“Is it a gift?” Rep. Adam Kwasman, R-Oro Valley, said when asked why he failed to include on his annual disclosure form a trip to Israel paid for by the American Israeli Education Foundation. “I’ll fix it immediately. It (the omission) was not out of malice.”

Kwasman, like other lawmakers queried for this story, quickly amended his report with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office after speaking with¬†The Republic. That action brings the lawmakers into compliance with state laws, even if it comes late and with some prodding.

Disclosure is not a comfortable topic at the Capitol, where just four years ago the Fiesta Bowl scandal erupted over 28 current and former lawmakers accepting lavish trips and college-football game tickets. Since then, despite proposals to clarify disclosure rules, nothing has changed.