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Statement of Economic Interests (Definition)

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Basic Explanation

Public officials who make governmental decisions that could affect their personal financial interests must annually disclose certain personal investments, interests in real property, sources of income, gifts, loans and business positions. 

This disclosure occurs on a form called a “Statement of Economic Interests.”  This form is also referred to by the acronym “SEI” or its number (Form 700). 

Who Must Make These Disclosures?

  • Local officials holding a position specified in California Government Code section 87200,
  • Candidates for the elective offices specified in section 87200, and
  • Employees designated by their agency’s conflict-of-interest code must file a Statement of Economic Interests.

What Does This Achieve?

The process of disclosing financial interests serves two purposes.

  1. Disclosure alerts public officials to their own financial interests and potential areas of conflict in relation to their official duties. A potential conflict-of-interest exists when a public official has a financial interest in an official decision. Public officials who have a conflict-of-interest in a decision must disqualify themselves from making that decision or face civil and criminal penalties.
  2. Disclosure also enables the public to judge whether there was a risk that a governmental decision was affected by a public official’s financial self-interest or that of supporters and friends.

                   

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