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Form 700 Filing Officer Duties
The Political Reform Act prohibits a public official from participating in governmental decisions in which he or she has a financial interest that may be materially affected. To help identify potential conflicts of interest, the law requires officials to file Statements of Economic Interests (Form 700). Agencies must ensure that their public officials (designed board and commission members, employees, and consultants) file the forms and disclose their interests on or before the statutory deadline.
The fact sheets below provide important information for filing officers about Form 700 filing procedures, filing deadlines, when and how to submit statements to the FPPC, and answers to common filing questions.
Filing officers must supply a Form 700 to those officials who have assuming, annual, and leaving office filing obligations, and notify filers who fail to file. In order to determine if an individual is required to file, agencies should carefully review the list of designated positions in their conflict of interest codes; update their conflict of interest codes to comply with existing law; and know the list of filers covered under Government Code section 87200. An enforcement referral must be made if a statement is not filed. The link below provides suggested timelines for notifications to individuals who must file an annual Form 700, as well as when to notify non-filers and to make enforcement referrals.
Providing Public Access and Reproduction Charges
All statements required to be filed by the Act are public documents and must be available for public inspection and reproduction during regular business hours no later than the second business day after they are received.
No conditions may be imposed on persons desiring to inspect or reproduce statements, and no information or identification may be required from such persons. A filing officer should provide copies of statements for viewing purposes rather than the originals. When a copy of a statement is requested, an unredacted copy must be provided.
Copies must be provided at a charge not to exceed 10 cents per page. In addition, filing officers may charge a retrieval fee of up to $5 per request for copies of statements that are five years or older. A single request for more than one report or statement is subject to one retrieval fee. Copies may be provided free of charge.
Filing officers must notify all persons who fail to file a statement required by law in a timely manner. Notification may be made by telephone or in writing, including by e-mail. Sample non-filer letters are available here. A record of all telephone calls and correspondence should be saved.
Filing officers are required to report apparent violations of the Act to the appropriate agency. An apparent violation exists if the filing officer knows or has reason to believe a statement contains material inaccuracies or omissions, or when a filer fails to file all or part of a statement after reasonable notice has been provided.
To expedite an enforcement referral to the FPPC’s Enforcement Division, use the Electronic Complaint System. Two written notifications must be made before referring a case and can be added as attachments. Click here to see a short demonstration of the System. Remember to choose "Referral" and click "Submit" when finished filling out the information.
Reviewing Form 700
Filing officers must do a full review on at least 20 percent of original statements filed on time, at least half of which must be selected on a random basis, and on all late statements. The full review is done to determine if the statements contain all of the information required by the Act. The specific requirements are set out in Regulation 18115.
The link below provides a tool to use when reviewing statements. It contains a list of the most common errors and may be used when requesting amendments.
Requesting and Accepting Amendments to Forms
A Form 700 may be amended by a filer at any time. There are no penalties for filing an amendment. Amending an incorrect or incomplete statement may be considered as evidence of good faith in any enforcement action.
No changes may be made on any statement after it has been filed; to make changes, an amendment must be filed. If a filing officer determines there is an error or additional information is necessary on a Form 700, a blank amendment schedule should be sent with a letter to the filer requesting the correct or additional information.
Charging and Collecting Late Fines
Any person who files a Form 700 after the deadline imposed by the Act may be liable for a late fine pursuant to Government Code Section 91013. A filing officer can assess a fine of $10 per day for each day a statement is late up to a maximum of $100.
There is no provision in the Act to extend a filing deadline. However, a filer may request in writing that a fine for late filing be waived or reduced. Filing officers have the authority to fully or partially waive a fine if, on an impartial basis, it is determined that the late filing was not willful and that enforcement of the fine would not further the purposes of the Act. A filing official (who retains a copy of the statement and forwards the original to the filing officer) does not have the authority to assess or waive late fines. The filing officer receiving the late fines may deposit the funds into the general fund of the jurisdiction of which he or she is an officer.
The FPPC adopted Form 700 late fine guidelines for its own use and they are provided as an example at the link below.
Form Retention for Filing Officers
Filing officers are required by law to maintain statements for a minimum period of time. This is determined by the type of statement and whether it is an original or a copy.