From the Daily News:
Ackerman needs, first, to document exactly when he opened his office for Xenonics so the timing can be matched against his financial stake, as well as reveal who attended the meeting. He also must document what that stake entailed.
He reported on financial disclosure forms in 2002 that Selig Zises, a friend and major Xenonics shareholder, had loaned Ackerman's wife, Rita, $14,000. He also reported the purchase of options in Xenonics stock. In a recent interview, Ackerman said he used the loan to make the buy and repaid it with interest when he sold out at a profit of roughly $100,000.
Except for a half-page promissory note that included no repayment schedule and a check showing repayment at 6% interest, he declined to produce any paperwork reflecting the transactions. In a statement issued after publication of The News' story, he said: "I did no more than arrange an introduction so the parties could decide on the merits whether the product fit their needs and sale capabilities. I understand that no business was ever done between Israel and Xenonics as result of that meeting or at any other time.
"I did nothing else in this matter - not another meeting, not another conversation, not seeking an earmark, not helping with any grant."
Here are relevant sections of the House Ethics Manual: "Members and employees of the House are frequently approached by individuals or organizations seeking assistance for business undertakings. Obtaining information for constituents regarding government contracts and services, as well as helping them deal with government regulations, is an important aspect of a Member's representational duties."
That gives officials leeway in serving business constituents. But the manual goes on to warn:
"Members and staff should also avoid becoming too closely affiliated with a particular enterprise, to prevent any appearance that they are accruing benefits 'by virtue of influence improperly exerted from [their] position in Congress.'"
Owning an interest in a firm would seem to fall under the rubric of "becoming too closely affiliated with a particular enterprise." That's why Ackerman owes New Yorkers the complete picture.