Congressman in hot seat over questions about his finances

When Congressman Alan Grayson sits down to fill out his personal financial disclosures, the annual forms required by House ethics rules, he doesn't sit down at the computer. The Florida Democrat prefers pen and paper.

"The answer is that I do it, if you will, as a labor of love," he explained in an interview with FOX 13.

As Grayson gears up for a possible bid for Marco Rubio's Senate seat, the multi-millionaire is under the microscope for his finances -- and it takes a microscope to read his handwritten forms. The fact that he was director of Grayson Fund (Cayman) Ltd. isn't clear at first glance, for instance.  His Cayman Island-based hedge fund is one of the latest issues that has Grayson in the hot seat.

Grayson insists he fills them out himself because he takes personal responsibility for the forms.

"I do it because people are entitled to know exactly what it is that we're required to disclose, and therefore I do it myself," he added.

One thing he didn't include in his financial disclosure form are details about where he received income. He checked "yes" on the box that says he received income of $200 or more during the reporting period, a box reserved for things like speaking honorariums or outside salaries, but didn't attach the corresponding "Schedule C" to detail it.

"That's because it was my congressional income," Grayson said. "I'm not required to break that out. Anybody who actually reads the instructions knows that much."

In fact, the instructions say, in bold type and all caps, "Attach the corresponding schedule if you answer 'Yes.'"

Grayson's spokesperson could not immediately provide any alternate instructions for the 2013 financial disclosure forms to which the congressman may have been referring.

Grayson shrugs off the latest spotlight on his personal finances as part of a smear campaign by critics.

"There'll be endless efforts to deploy these weapons of mass distraction, to try to change the subject away from the people of Florida. I won't allow it," he said.

Public policy analysts point out he has to allow it -- people have a right to know whether their elected officials could be beholden to certain financial interests.

"This is all stuff you'd expect he'd be aware of and avoid the appearance of trying to hide something," said Sam Staley, an economist and public policy analyst at Florida State University.

"This is a congressman who is actually staking a policy claim to transparency in campaign finance," Staley said. "Why shouldn't we see that also in financial disclosure?"

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