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.
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.
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).
What to report
Get ready to complete your report by learning what information you will need to disclose. This guide will walk you through each section of the report and explain what is reported in each. You also can watch a set of training videos, one for new filers and/or one for returning filers, that include step-by-step instructions for completing the F-1 report. Here are a few of the most popular topics:
Reporting financial assets
Disclosing business and other organizational interests