CEO 74-19 -- October 10, 1974
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR CANDIDATE
FOR PUBLIC OFFICE
To: Ray F. Campo, Brandon
Prepared by: Jeff Bassett
A candidate for nomination to or election for any office is subject to the same disclosure requirements set forth in s. 112.313(3), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida, as are public officers and employees. Accordingly, Mr. Campo must disclose by filing CE Form 3 any material interest in a business entity granted a privilege to operate or doing business with an agency in which he is seeking office. Neither his candidate status nor his intentions to divest himself of all such interests should he assume office exempts him from disclosure provisions of part III, Ch. 112, F. S.
Must a candidate for county commissioner file a statement disclosing conflicts of interest in accordance with s. 112.313(3), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida, even if he does not presently hold public office and intends to divest himself of any conflicting interests if elected?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
Section 112.313(3), F. S., supra, states:
If a public officer or employee of an agency is an officer, director, partner, proprietor, associate or general agent (other than a resident agent solely for service of process) of, or owns a material interest in, any business entity which is granted a privilege to operate, or is doing business with an agency of which he is an officer or employee, he shall file a statement disclosing such facts within forty-five days of becoming an officer or employee or within forty-five (45) days of the acquisition of such position or of such material interest. The statement shall give the name, address and principal business activity of the business entity and shall state the position held or the fact that a material interest is owned, and the nature of said interest. A candidate for nomination to or election for any office shall file a like statement. . . . (Emphasis supplied.)
It is our opinion that candidates are subject to the same requirements of the above section as are public officers and employees. Accordingly, all candidates are required to disclose, if applicable, any of the above enumerated positions or any material interest in a business entity which is granted a privilege to operate or is doing business with an agency in which the candidate is seeking office. The term "material interest," as defined by s. 112.312(5), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, supra, means "direct or indirect ownership of ten percent or more of the total assets or capital stock of any business entity."
The fact that you are not presently an office holder in the governmental unit that regulates the company in which you own an interest has no bearing on your duty to disclose conflicts; nor does your intention to divest yourself of such interest prior to assuming office (if elected) exempt you from disclosure. The disclosure of conflicts provision of part III, Ch. 112, F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, supra, applies to all candidates subject only to the limitations previously mentioned.
We therefore conclude that, as a candidate for public office, you are required to file CE Form 3, if applicable, which has been prescribed by the Ethics Commission for making such disclosure. You are not required to file the form merely to disclose negative information. CE Form 3 may be obtained from the circuit court clerk's office of each county and from the office of the Secretary of State in Tallahassee.