CEO 84-26 -- April 26, 1984
FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE; SUNSHINE AMENDMENT
DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR CANDIDATE FOR ELECTIVE CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICE
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Section 112.3144(1), Florida Statutes, provides that persons required to file full and public disclosure of financial interests pursuant to Article II, Section 8, Florida Constitution, may file that disclosure statement in lieu of the statement of financial interests required by Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes. Therefore, a candidate for the office of public defender is not required to file both financial disclosure forms when qualifying as a candidate. However, Section 99.012, Florida Statutes, provides that a candidate for public office cannot qualify without filing a statement of financial interests under Section 112.3145. Therefore, the opinion of the Division of Elections, Department of State, should be sought also.
Are you, a public defender, required to file both a statement of financial interests (CE Form 1) and full and public disclosure of your financial interests (CE Form 6) when qualifying as a candidate for that office?
Your question is answered in the negative.
Elected constitutional officers, including public defenders, are required to file full and public disclosure of their financial interests (Commission on Ethics Form 6) annually, pursuant to Article II, Section 8(a) and (h), Florida Constitution. Until October 1, 1982, such officers were required by Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes, also to file statements of financial interests (Commission on Ethics Form 1) annually.
On that date, the following provision became effective:
Full and public disclosure of financial interests. -- No person who is required, pursuant to s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution, to file a full and public disclosure of his financial interests and who has filed a full and public disclosure of his financial interests for any calendar or fiscal year shall be required to file a statement of financial interests pursuant to s. 112.3145(2) and (3) for the same year or for any part thereof notwithstanding any requirement of this part, except that a candidate for office shall file a copy of his disclosure with the officer before whom he qualifies. [Section 112.3144(1), Florida Statutes (1983).]
This provision was intended to end the double disclosure requirement for those persons filing full and public disclosure by providing that a person's filing of Form 6 exempts the requirement of filing also Form 1.
Candidates for elective constitutional office are required to file Form 6 prior to or at the time they qualify. Plante v. Smathers, 372 So.2d 933 (Fla. 1979). Therefore, it is our understanding that where a candidate files Form 6 (or where an incumbent files a copy of his current Form 6) with his qualifying papers, there is no requirement to file Form 1 also.
However, we understand that the Division of Elections of the Department of State may have reached a different conclusion, based upon Section 99.012, Florida Statutes, which provides that no individual may qualify as a candidate for public office until a statement of financial interests pursuant to Section 112.3145 is filed. As we do not have the authority to interpret this provision in Chapter 99, we suggest that you also seek the opinion of the Division of Elections in this matter.