Preparing a financial affairs statement cannot be done casually, but neither should it be seen as a task that is overwhelming or somehow beyond the ability of any person who is, or seeks to be, a public official.  Completing the statement will take time and a thorough review of your finances and investment holdings. This instruction manual will help, but it may not answer all your questions. You are encouraged to contact the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) staff or your attorney for guidance on how to report special situations.

We recommend you look at the F-1 and F-1 Supplement forms and then read the instructions carefully before completing each section of the report.

State officials needing information about the state Ethics Law are reminded that PDC has no authority to advise them regarding the acceptability of gifts or other items. Contact either the Executive Ethics Board (360/664-0871), the Legislative Ethics Board (360/786-7540) or the Commission on Judicial Conduct (360/753-4585).

Each F-1 you file must include certain financial information for you, your spouse or registered domestic partner, your dependent children and other dependent relatives if they lived with you during the reporting period.  In other words, include information regarding dependent children regardless of where they lived. (Do not report information about independent adult children who lived at home or away from home.) Include information about other dependent relatives only if they lived with you.

This booklet contains general information, section-by-section instructions for completing the forms. The section-by-section format consists of a quotation from the statute, an explanation of the statutory language, and an example.

The amounts of the reporting thresholds and dollar codes were most recently adjusted for inflation in January 2015 (WAC 390-24-301). 

If you have questions, comments or suggestions on ways to improve these instructions, please contact the PDC.  If you write to us with questions, also include a daytime telephone number.

Why We Have Financial Disclosure

In 1972, nearly one million Washington residents -- or 72% of the voters -- supported an initiative designed to bring more openness and accountability to this state's political process. With the adoption of that initiative, the voters declared that the personal and business finances of elected officials should be disclosed and available for public review. Four years later, voters reaffirmed this position on financial disclosure when they added state-level appointed officials to the list of persons who must file these disclosure reports.

Filing reports that disclose financial interests and holdings is more than a formality. It's a means for the public to have tangible proof that officials are acting in the public interest and not for their private gain. Conversely, completing the reports gives officials an opportunity annually to review their holdings and be more sensitive to subjects that might pose an actual or perceived conflict of interest.

Conflict of interest or ethics laws has been on the books for generations. They stem from common law and the biblical caution that "no man can serve two masters." These laws and their inherent prohibitions go hand-in-hand with financial disclosure. Each is virtually meaningless without the other.

What To Do In Case Of A Conflict

If, during the preparation of your financial affairs report or later while serving in public office, you think you may have a conflict of interest, PDC suggests the following course of action:

  • Take no action until it's decided whether you have a conflict.
  • Seek advice from your agency attorney, your jurisdiction's ethics agency, your own attorney or the State Auditor's Office.
  • Discuss the matter with members of your government agency.  Inform them of the potential or actual conflict.
  • The Public Disclosure Commission has no legal authority to consider whether an action does or does not constitute a conflict of interest or a violation of any state or local ethics law.