Protecting The Privacy Of Bankruptcy FilersAn unfortunate reality of politics’ proclivity towards mudslinging and public manipulation, the use of shaming a political opponent because of their past bankruptcy filing is happening again, not in Texas; but just two states over in Arizona.   In a bid for the position of attorney general, opponent Andrew Thomas is accusing Tom Horne of filing bankruptcy in the past and failing to report it on his law firm’s annual report.

In a series of annual reports for his law firm, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne wrongly denied having a bankruptcy in his past.

Reports filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission from 1997 to 2000 for Horne’s law firm show that when asked if any partner in the firm had ever been a partner in a business that went bankrupt, Horne checked “no” and signed the form.

In fact, Horne was the president of T.C. Horne & Co., an investment firm that went bankrupt in 1970 and led to him receiving a lifetime trading ban from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

For his part, Horne said he did not report the bankruptcy because it was filed 40 years ago.  He also noted that he was working his way through law school at the time, was entrepreneurial and got in way over his head and needed to file bankruptcy to get a fresh start.  It’s unfortunate that this candidate’s bankruptcy filing is being used against him in this manner because filing bankruptcy is not a sign of some moral character flaw in the person who filed.  One of the issues that debtors face after bankruptcy is that some companies insist on asking if they have filed bankruptcy EVER and not just within the past 10 years, when the bankruptcy falls off of the debtor’s credit report after 10 years.  We need to make sure that debtors are not going to be discriminated against because of a bankruptcy filing they had in the past especially one older than 10 years.  Banks, employers and others should be prohibited from requiring individuals to disclose bankruptcy filings that are older than 10 years.