Gregory Meeks forgets to disclose $55,000 in personal loans

Gregory Meeks

Congressman Gregory Meeks "forgot" to disclose more than $55,000 in personal loans. Whoops. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

For most people, getting a personal loan takes time, effort, and lots of paperwork. New York congressman Gregory Meeks from Queens, however, apparently just “forgot” more than $55,000 in personal loans. A member of the U.S. House of Representatives for the last 11 years, Gregory Meeks is on the House Financial Committee. What were these loans for, and who was the private money lender?

Gregory Meeks’ “oversight”

The New York Daily News last Sunday revealed that Gregory Meeks neglected to list two cash personal loans on financial disclosure statements. In a statement to the Daily News, Meeks admitted that these loans existed, but did not reveal any other information about them. These loans were one $40,000 loan in 2007 and one $15,000 loan in 2008. Both of these loans were listed as “personal unsecured loans.” Meeks also has a loan worth $50,000 to $100,000 with a Queens businessman.

Financial disclosure requirements

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are required to make extensive financial disclosures. These disclosures are due by May 15 of each year and list assets, liabilities, incomes, gifts, board membership and real estate. Gregory Meeks’ 2009 disclosure was filed about a month late, which prompted inquiries. Meeks said a “careful and thorough review” was initiated, and this review found the “oversight” in his disclosure. Technically, these disclosures are supposed to be public, though the House Clerk and Secretary of State, with whom they must be filed, do not post these disclosures online.

Consequences for Gregory Meeks?

Because of his “oversight” of forgetting to mention an extra $55,000-plus in personal loans, Gregory Meeks may face discipline. First, he could be charged with a violation of the ethics code under House Rule XXVI. Second, his congressional constituents could take action against him. Most likely, however, Meeks will not face charges unless there are improprieties in the administration of these “small” cash loans. It will be up to the voters to decide in the next election whether Gregory Meeks should face consequences or not.