CEO 74‑89A ‑‑ March 11, 1975
CE FORM 2
REQUIRED DISCLOSURE OF REPRESENTATIONS BEFORE
AGENCIES FROM CANDIDATE FOR SARASOTA COUNTY
To: James R. Kennedy, Sarasota
Prepared by: Gene L. "Hal" Johnson
Section 112.3145(1)(c), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74‑177, Laws of Florida, requires a candidate for public office to file CE Form 2 quarterly subsequent to any appearance under conditions set forth in s. 112.3145(1)(c), supra. In absence of a specific filing date, the Ethics Commission has set filing of CE Form 2 within 15 days following the end of each calendar quarter. CE Form 2 requires only disclosure of the client represented and the agency before whom the appearance was made. "Appearance" and "representation," used interchangeably in the law, are construed to mean actual physical appearances at an agency proceeding as well as such actions on a client's behalf as letters written to the agency, telephone calls or personal consultation with the agency officers or employees, and filing of documents. These are subject to limitations of s. 112.3145(1)(c), supra. The phrase "same level of government," s. 112.3145(1)(c), supra, applies, in Mr. Kennedy's case, to agencies within Sarasota County, the political subdivision in which he is a candidate. Representations before any other political subdivision need not be disclosed.
1. What is the required filing date of the quarterly statement of Disclosure of Clients Represented Before Agencies, CE Form 2?
2. In reference to s. 112.3145(1)(c), F. S., what specifically does the term "represent" mean, and exactly what constitutes an "appearance" before an agency?
3. Under s. 112.3145(1)(c), supra, must a candidate for the Sarasota County School Board disclose representations before agencies in counties other than Sarasota County?
As to question 1, CE Form 2, Disclosure of Clients Represented Before Agencies, must be filed quarterly subsequent to any appearance before an agency by a public officer or candidate under the conditions set forth in s. 112.3145(1)(c), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74‑177, Laws of Florida. Because this section is silent as to the required date of filing such a report, the Ethics Commission has prescribed that it must be filed within 15 days immediately following the end of each calendar quarter.
As to your second question, the terms "represent" and "appearance" as used in s. 112.3145(1)(c), supra, are used interchangeably. They refer to the situation where a "public officer or candidate" substitutes himself as agent for a client before an agency. As to what constitutes an appearance before an agency, the act establishes those limits by negative implication when it states:
. . . for the purposes of this subsection "representation before any agency" does not include appearances before any court, or appearances before judges or commissioners of industrial claims. This provision shall not include the preparation and filing of forms and applications merely for the purpose of obtaining or transferring a license or operation permit to engage in a profession or business or occupation, provided it does not require substantial discretion, a variance, special consideration, a certificate of public convenience and necessity, a license based on a quota or a franchise, of such agency. [Section 112.3145(1)(c), supra.]
It should be pointed out, however, that CE Form 2 does not require the disclosure of every incident of representation. The officer or candidate need only disclose the client who was represented, and the agency before whom the appearance was made. Thus, if numerous letters were written to a particular agency on behalf of a client, each letter would not have to be listed. A single listing of the client and agency would be sufficient in any one quarter. If more than one agency is contacted, of course, each agency must be listed.
We construe the terms "appearance" and "representation" broadly to include actual physical appearances in an agency proceeding as well as the following actions on a client's behalf: letters written to the agency; telephone calls to, or personal consultations with, agency officers or employees; and filing of documents on behalf of a client. Each of these forms of representation is, of course, subject to the limitations of s. 112.3145(1)(c), F. S., as quoted above. Since the adoption of CE Form 2 on July 1, 1974, we have reconsidered the substance of this form and concluded that it is inconsistent with the provisions of s. 112.3145(1)(c) and with this opinion. Accordingly, we revised this form on November 15, 1974. Our recently revised form is enclosed for your use.
Question 3 is answered in the negative.
The applicable section of the disclosure law states in part:
Any public officer or candidate who represents another before his own agency or any agency at the same level of government as his own agency, except in ministerial matters, for a fee or commission shall list the agencies before which he appears, and the name of the client whom he represented, in a quarterly report subsequent to such appearance. [Section 112.3145(1)(c), supra; emphasis supplied.]
Although the phrase "same level of government" is not defined by law, we read this section to require a county official to disclose those clients whom he represents before an agency of the county in which he serves. To reach any other conclusion would in our opinion go beyond the intent of the disclosure law and impose the unnecessary burden of reporting information which presents little or no potential conflict of interest.
Therefore, in your case in which you represent a client before an agency in any county other than Sarasota County, there is no need for disclosure on CE Form 2. However, if you at any time represent clients before agencies of Sarasota County, you will be required to disclose such representations.