financial disclosure statements

Introduction

Politicians running for or holding elected office on a federal, state and local level often must file financial disclosure statements detailing their personal finances and business interests. These include information about their sources of income, investments they have, property they own, businesses in which they have a position or interest, and gifts and honorariums they have received.

The disclosures are required to avoid conflicts of interest by public office holders and so the public can determine if a politician's personal financial interests might be affecting his or her actions as a public official.

Similar disclosure forms are required by non-elected government officials holding top administrative positions on a federal, state and local level.

Federal

On a federal level, these financial disclosure forms are required for members of the U.S. Congress, Supreme Court Justices, and the president, as well as for members of the presidential cabinet and other top executive branch officials.

State

Many states similarly require that state or local elected officials file financial disclosure statements.

California

In California these forms are called statements of economic interests and are required for anyone running for or holding either a state elected office or a local office such as a city council, school board or board of supervisors.

In California many non-elected state and local public officials, such as city managers, county adminstrators or department headsb (police chiefs, redevelopment agency directors, etc.) also must file these statements.

News Stories Using Financial Disclosure Forms

State PUC Member Invested in Phone Firm - San Francisco Chronicle, 8/21/2000. 

State fines former commissioner: Duque cited for utility commission votes on Nextel - San Francisco Chronicle, 1/22/2005 

Alameda County college leader's business partner gets $900,000 contract - Contra Costa Times, 7/11/2009. Scroll down about two thirds of the way through the story to see the references to statements of economic interests.

Many Gulf federal judges have oil links - Associated Press, 6/6/2010. An AP investigation based on financial disclosure forms filed by federal judges that detailed their ties to the oil and gas industry. The judges are in judicial districts where federal lawsuits related to the 2010 Gulf oil spill have been filed.

Judge owned stock in firms he ruled on - San Francisco Chronicle, 11/24/2012. A California Watch investigation based on a judge's financial disclosure forms and court rulings.

Secretary of State Candidate Has a Major Financial Stake in Canadian Tar Sands - OnEarth, 11/28/2012. OnEarth, a Natural Resources Defense Council publication, did this story on former United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice based on her financial disclosure report.

CalPERS vice president embarrasses pension board -- again - Bay Area News Group, 8/15/2014. A column about an elected member of a public pension board's failure to file financial disclosure statements and campaign statements.

Filed under: Public Records