CEO 75-19 -- February 5, 1975
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS OF JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSIONS
To :Patricia C. Fawsett, Attorney, Orlando
Prepared by: Patricia Butler
Reference is made to CEO 74-11. As a member of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, Ms. Fawsett is a public officer for purposes of the disclosure law. See s. 112.312(7)(a), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida. Further, as stated in In re Advisory Opinion to the Governor, 276 So.2d 25 (Fla. 1973), nominating commissions are part of the executive function and are thus state agencies within the meaning of part III, Ch. 112, supra. Ms. Fawsett is then required to disclose all clients whom she and her law partners or associates represent before state agencies. See s. 112.3145(1)(c), supra.
In completing CE Form 1, Financial Disclosure Statement, Ms. Fawsett need not disclose income belonging solely to her spouse. However, jointly held properties are to be included in computing gross income; assets held in the entirety by wife and husband are also to be included at full value in the financial disclosure statement.
1. Is the Ninth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission a state agency within the definition of part III, Ch. 112, F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida, for purposes of completing CE Form 2, the Quarterly Statement of Disclosure of Clients Represented Before Agencies?
2. For purposes of completing CE Form 2, what are the state agencies on the same level of government with the Ninth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission?
3. In completing CE Form 1, Financial Disclosure Statement, must the public officer disclose income belonging solely to the public officer's spouse?
Question 1 is answered in the affirmative.
The definition of the term "agency" includes "any state . . . governmental entity, whether executive, judicial or legislative, and therein any . . . commission . . . ." (Emphasis supplied.) Section 112.312(1), supra. As stated in In re Advisory Opinion to Governor, 276 So.2d 25 (Fla. 1973), nominating commissions are part of the executive function. As such, they are state agencies within the meaning of this law.
The provision of the disclosure law requiring a disclosure of clients 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. Representation before any agency shall be deemed to include representation by such public officer or candidate, or any partner or associate of the professional firm of which he is a member and of which he has knowledge. [Section 112.3145(1)(c), supra.]
Under the terms of this law, you are required to disclose all clients which you and your law partners or associates represent before state agencies except as provided above. We have construed this provision to require that you must have actual knowledge of representations made before state agencies by your partners in the law firm. See CEO 74-78, which is enclosed.
As to your second question, a list of all agencies which are at the state level is not currently available. For your guidance, however, we suggest that you look at the definition of "agency" which states in part:
"Agency" means any state, . . . governmental entity, whether executive, judicial, or legislative, and therein any department, division, bureau, commission, authority, or special taxing district with authority to exercise the sovereign power of the state. [Section 112.312(1), supra; emphasis supplied.] If you have a question concerning the governmental level of any specific agency, we will be happy to answer such inquiry upon request.
Question 3 is answered in the negative.
The present provisions state in part:
All public officers and candidates shall disclose the source of all income that constitutes ten percent (10%) or more of such person's gross income for the preceding taxable year . . . . [Section 112.3145(1)(a), supra.]
Thus, the public officer must disclose only his or her own sources of income. This does not include income which belongs solely to the public officer's spouse.
However, we have stated in CEO 74-2 that jointly held properties are to be included in computing a public officer's gross income to the extent of the officer's joint ownership of such property. Also, in CEO 74-27, we stated that assets held in the entirety by the wife and husband are to be included in the public officer's financial disclosure statement at full value.