Public officials at every level of state and local government must disclose their personal financial interests. The purpose of financial disclosure is to alert public officials to personal interests that might be affected while they are performing their official duties, i.e., making governmental decisions. Disclosure also helps inform the public about potential conflicts of interest.
Financial Disclosure Forms/Conflict of Interest
The Political Reform Act (Gov. Code sections 81000- 91015) requires most state and local government officials and employees to publicly disclose their personal assets and income. They also must disqualify themselves from participating in decisions which may affect their personal economic interests. The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) is the state agency responsible for issuing the Statement of Economic Interests, Form 700, and for interpreting the law’s provisions. Most statements are filed with the agency and originals are forwarded to the Fair Political Practices Commission. These reports are open to public inspection and may be reproduced upon request.
Disclosure is made on a form called a ”statement of economic interests“ (Form 700). The form must be filed each year. Filed forms are public documents that must be made available to anyone who requests them.
Who Must File
Public officials at every level of state and local government must disclose their personal financial interests. Elected officials, judges, and high-ranking appointed officials generally have the most comprehensive disclosure requirements. (Gov. Code Section 87200.) These include disclosure of:
- Investments in business entities (e.g., stock holdings, owning a business, a partnership)
- Interests in real estate (real property)
- Sources of personal income, including gifts, loans and travel payments
- Positions of management or employment with business entities
For most other officials, including employees of state and local government agencies, it is up to the agencies that employ them to decide what their disclosure requirements are. Each state and local agency must adopt a conflict of interest code tailoring the disclosure requirements for each position within the agency to the types of governmental decisions a person holding that position would make. For example, an employee who approves contracts for goods or services purchased by her agency should not be required to disclose real estate interests, but should be required to disclose investments in and income from individuals and entities that supply equipment, materials, or services to the agency. (Gov. Code Sections 87301 and 87302.)
Unpaid members of boards and commissions and consultants to state and local government agencies also may be required to disclose their personal financial interests if they make or participate in making governmental decisions that could affect their private financial interests.
The San Mateo County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder’s Office, Clerk Division is the filing location for the following officials:
- Superior Court Judges and Commissioners
- San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, elected officials (Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder, Controller, Coroner, District Attorney, Sheriff, Treasurer-Tax Collector, County Counsel) and all County Department Heads
- San Mateo County employees (who are designated to file)
- School District Trustees
- Special District Directors
- San Mateo County Boards and Commissions members
City officials such as council members and city employees file with their respective City Clerks.
The San Mateo County Assessor-Clerk-Recorder has partnered with NetFile to implement a web-based program allowing for the electronic entry and reporting of the state-mandated Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700). Click here to electronically file.
For more information, please contact the Filing Officer and visit the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) website.