The types of economic interests disclosed on a Form 700, or Statement of Economic Interests, are based in requirements of state law in the California Political Reform Act.
Types of disclosures required support the purposes of the law.
The Form 700 is a form created by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) that is used by state and local government officials and employees throughout California to disclose certain personal financial interests that may be affected by their governmental decision making.
Like other jurisdictions in the state, the City and County of San Francisco is required to have a Conflict of Interests Code that identifies agency and department officials and employees whose positions make or participate in making governmental decisions within the meaning of state law, and therefore are designated to file a Form 700. The Code identifies these positions along with the types of financial interests that can pose a foreseeable conflict of interest for officials and employees serving in those roles. As a fundamental tool to help government officials detect and avoid potential conflicts of interests, Form 700 public disclosure filings help ensure that governmental actions are made without any regard to the official or employee’s personal gain.
An individual whose position is identified as a designated filer in a Conflict of Interests Code must disclose certain reportable economic interests that are associated with the duties of their position.
In general, reportable interests are separated into the following types:
- Sources of income
- Income includes gifts and travel payments.
- Commonly reported gifts can include meals and tickets. Interests not required to be reported include gifts from family members and travel paid by a filer’s government agency.
- Reportable income includes non-governmental salaries and a filer’s community property interest in their spouse’s or partner’s salary.
- A filer’s governmental salary is not required to be reported.
- Includes stocks, including those held in an IRA or 401k.
- Can also include sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, corporations and trusts.
- Interests that are not required to be disclosed include savings and checking accounts, annuities, insurance policies, government bonds, and diversified mutual funds.
- Interests in real property
- Filers must report any interest of $2,000 or more in real property (real estate) located within the jurisdiction.
- Real property Interests of the filer, the filer’s spouse of registered domestic partner, and the filer’s dependent children must be reported.
- For example, rental property owned in the filer’s jurisdiction, or within two miles of the boundaries of the jurisdiction must be reported.
- A residence used exclusively as a personal residence is not required to be disclosed unless the filer receives rental income from the property.
- Business positions
- If a filer is a partner, trustee, employee, or held any position of management with a disclosable investment, that filer may be required to report their job title or business position with that business entity.
Scope of disclosures reflects a filer’s governmental duties.
Not all filers must disclose every personal financial interest that they have. The law specifies which interests a particular filer must disclose by defining a “disclosure category” for the filer. The disclosure category will specify which interests must be disclosed by individuals who are assigned to that category.
Under the law, many officials and employees are assigned to the broadest disclosure category.
|Disclosure Category 1|
|Category for officials identified with broadest duties and authority|
|Persons in this category shall disclose income (including gifts) from any source, interests in real property, investments, and all business positions in which the designated employee is a director, officer, partner, trustee, employee, or holds any position of management.|
Many other filers are assigned to a lower disclosure category. In lower disclosure categories, the financial interests required to be reported are more tailored to the designated filer’s position. Because job duties can differ from agency to agency and even unit to unit within the same agency, not all employees in the same job title or classification may have the exact same reporting requirements. Each agency defines its own disclosure categories for each position based on the type and scope of work performed.
The examples below illustrate how a designated filer’s reportable interests may be tailored to the types of interests that could be affected by their governmental duties:
|Example||Reportable interests||From these Reportable Sources|
|Departmental Finance Officer||Any entity that provides services, supplies, materials, machinery, or equipment of the type used by the department that the filer participated in purchasing.|
|Information Systems Engineer||Any entity that provides the type of information technology services, goods or equipment used by department, including but not limited to, computer hardware or software companies, computer consultant services, training, data processing firms, and media services, or provided or sought to provide such services, goods or equipment to department during past year.|
|Central Maintenance Manager|| |
Any entity that:
…leases, rents, or operates from property of the department,
…provides or contracts with the department to provide, services, supplies, materials, machinery, or equipment to the department, or which has done so within the two years prior or which may foreseeably do so in the future.
Terms used on the Form 700 are defined in state law and in associated regulations of the FPPC and can be found in the Political Reform Act (California Govt. Code Sec. 81000 et seq.), its associated regulations, and on the Instruction pages provided by the FPPC for each Form 700 filing schedule. In addition, the FPPC’s Frequently Asked Questions: Form 700 Disclosure provides answers to many commonly asked filing questions.
For additional information about Form 700 disclosure filings of officers and employees of the City and County of San Francisco, or the information disclosed in those filings, visit the Ethics Commission’s City Officer Disclosure page or contact the Ethics Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.