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The Florida Statutes

The 2016 Florida Statutes

Title X
PUBLIC OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AND RECORDS
Chapter 112
PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES: GENERAL PROVISIONS
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F.S. 112.3144
112.3144 Full and public disclosure of financial interests.
(1) An officer who is required by s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution to file a full and public disclosure of his or her financial interests for any calendar or fiscal year shall file that disclosure with the Florida Commission on Ethics. Additionally, beginning January 1, 2015, an officer who is required to complete annual ethics training pursuant to s. 112.3142 must certify on his or her full and public disclosure of financial interests that he or she has completed the required training.
(2) A person who is required, pursuant to s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution, to file a full and public disclosure of financial interests and who has filed a full and public disclosure of financial interests for any calendar or fiscal year shall not be required to file a statement of financial interests pursuant to s. 112.3145(2) and (3) for the same year or for any part thereof notwithstanding any requirement of this part. If an incumbent in an elective office has filed the full and public disclosure of financial interests to qualify for election to the same office or if a candidate for office holds another office subject to the annual filing requirement, the qualifying officer shall forward an electronic copy of the full and public disclosure of financial interests to the commission no later than July 1. The electronic copy of the full and public disclosure of financial interests satisfies the annual disclosure requirement of this section. A candidate who does not qualify until after the annual full and public disclosure of financial interests has been filed pursuant to this section shall file a copy of his or her disclosure with the officer before whom he or she qualifies.
(3) For purposes of full and public disclosure under s. 8(a), Art. II of the State Constitution, the following items, if not held for investment purposes and if valued at over $1,000 in the aggregate, may be reported in a lump sum and identified as “household goods and personal effects”:
(a) Jewelry;
(b) Collections of stamps, guns, and numismatic properties;
(c) Art objects;
(d) Household equipment and furnishings;
(e) Clothing;
(f) Other household items; and
(g) Vehicles for personal use.
(4)(a) With respect to reporting, on forms prescribed under this section, assets valued in excess of $1,000 which the reporting individual holds jointly with another person, the amount reported shall be based on the reporting individual’s legal percentage of ownership in the property. However, assets that are held jointly, with right of survivorship, must be reported at 100 percent of the value of the asset. For purposes of this subsection, a reporting individual is deemed to own a percentage of a partnership which is equal to the reporting individual’s interest in the capital or equity of the partnership.
(b)1. With respect to reporting liabilities valued in excess of $1,000 on forms prescribed under this section for which the reporting individual is jointly and severally liable, the amount reported shall be based on the reporting individual’s percentage of liability rather than the total amount of the liability. However, liability for a debt that is secured by property owned by the reporting individual but that is held jointly, with right of survivorship, must be reported at 100 percent of the total amount owed.
2. A separate section of the form shall be created to provide for the reporting of the amounts of joint and several liability of the reporting individual not otherwise reported in subparagraph 1.
(5) Forms for compliance with the full and public disclosure requirements of s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution shall be created by the Commission on Ethics. The commission shall give notice of disclosure deadlines and delinquencies and distribute forms in the following manner:
(a) Not later than May 1 of each year, the commission shall prepare a current list of the names and addresses of and the offices held by every person required to file full and public disclosure annually by s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution, or other state law. In compiling the list, the commission shall be assisted by each unit of government in providing at the request of the commission the name, address, and name of the office held by each public official within the respective unit of government.
(b) Not later than 30 days before July 1 of each year, the commission shall mail a copy of the form prescribed for compliance with full and public disclosure and a notice of the filing deadline to each person on the mailing list.
(c) Not later than 30 days after July 1 of each year, the commission shall determine which persons on the mailing list have failed to file full and public disclosure and shall send delinquency notices by certified mail to such persons. Each notice shall state that a grace period is in effect until September 1 of the current year.
(d) Statements must be filed not later than 5 p.m. of the due date. However, any statement that is postmarked by the United States Postal Service by midnight of the due date is deemed to have been filed in a timely manner, and a certificate of mailing obtained from and dated by the United States Postal Service at the time of the mailing, or a receipt from an established courier company which bears a date on or before the due date, constitutes proof of mailing in a timely manner.
(e) Any person who is required to file full and public disclosure of financial interests and whose name is on the commission’s mailing list but who fails to timely file is assessed a fine of $25 per day for each day late up to a maximum of $1,500; however this $1,500 limitation on automatic fines does not limit the civil penalty that may be imposed if the statement is filed more than 60 days after the deadline and a complaint is filed, as provided in s. 112.324. The commission must provide by rule the grounds for waiving the fine and the procedures by which each person whose name is on the mailing list and who is determined to have not filed in a timely manner will be notified of assessed fines and may appeal. The rule must provide for and make specific the following:
1. The amount of the fine due is based upon the earliest of the following:
a. When a statement is actually received by the office.
b. When the statement is postmarked.
c. When the certificate of mailing is dated.
d. When the receipt from an established courier company is dated.
2. Upon receipt of the disclosure statement or upon accrual of the maximum penalty, whichever occurs first, the commission shall determine the amount of the fine which is due and shall notify the delinquent person. The notice must include an explanation of the appeal procedure under subparagraph 3. Such fine must be paid within 30 days after the notice of payment due is transmitted, unless appeal is made to the commission pursuant to subparagraph 3. The moneys shall be deposited into the General Revenue Fund.
3. Any reporting person may appeal or dispute a fine, based upon unusual circumstances surrounding the failure to file on the designated due date, and may request and is entitled to a hearing before the commission, which may waive the fine in whole or in part for good cause shown. Any such request must be made within 30 days after the notice of payment due is transmitted. In such a case, the reporting person must, within the 30-day period, notify the person designated to review the timeliness of reports in writing of his or her intention to bring the matter before the commission.
(f) Any person subject to the annual filing of full and public disclosure under s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution, or other state law, whose name is not on the commission’s mailing list of persons required to file full and public disclosure is not subject to the fines or penalties provided in this part for failure to file full and public disclosure in any year in which the omission occurred, but nevertheless is required to file the disclosure statement.
(g) The notification requirements and fines of this subsection do not apply to candidates or to the first filing required of any person appointed to elective constitutional office or other position required to file full and public disclosure, unless the person’s name is on the commission’s notification list and the person received notification from the commission. The appointing official shall notify such newly appointed person of the obligation to file full and public disclosure by July 1. The notification requirements and fines of this subsection do not apply to the final filing provided for in subsection (7).
(h) Notwithstanding any provision of chapter 120, any fine imposed under this subsection which is not waived by final order of the commission and which remains unpaid more than 60 days after the notice of payment due or more than 60 days after the commission renders a final order on the appeal must be submitted to the Department of Financial Services as a claim, debt, or other obligation owed to the state, and the department shall assign the collection of such fine to a collection agent as provided in s. 17.20.
(6) If a person holding public office or public employment fails or refuses to file a full and public disclosure of financial interests for any year in which the person received notice from the commission regarding the failure to file and has accrued the maximum automatic fine authorized under this section, regardless of whether the fine imposed was paid or collected, the commission shall initiate an investigation and conduct a public hearing without receipt of a complaint to determine whether the person’s failure to file is willful. Such investigation and hearing must be conducted in accordance with s. 112.324. Except as provided in s. 112.324(4), if the commission determines that the person willfully failed to file a full and public disclosure of financial interests, the commission shall enter an order recommending that the officer or employee be removed from his or her public office or public employment.
(7) Each person required to file full and public disclosure of financial interests shall file a final disclosure statement within 60 days after leaving his or her public position for the period between January 1 of the year in which the person leaves and the last day of office or employment, unless within the 60-day period the person takes another public position requiring financial disclosure under s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution, or is otherwise required to file full and public disclosure for the final disclosure period. The head of the agency of each person required to file full and public disclosure for the final disclosure period shall notify such persons of their obligation to file the final disclosure and may designate a person to be responsible for the notification requirements of this subsection.
(8)(a) The commission shall treat an amended full and public disclosure of financial interests which is filed before September 1 of the year in which the disclosure is due as the original filing, regardless of whether a complaint has been filed. If a complaint alleges only an immaterial, inconsequential, or de minimis error or omission, the commission may not take any action on the complaint other than notifying the filer of the complaint. The filer must be given 30 days to file an amended full and public disclosure of financial interests correcting any errors. If the filer does not file an amended full and public disclosure of financial interests within 30 days after the commission sends notice of the complaint, the commission may continue with proceedings pursuant to s. 112.324.
(b) For purposes of the final full and public disclosure of financial interests, the commission shall treat a new final full and public disclosure of financial interests as the original filing if filed within 60 days after the original filing, regardless of whether a complaint has been filed. If, more than 60 days after a final full and public disclosure of financial interests is filed, a complaint is filed alleging a complete omission of any information required to be disclosed by this section, the commission may immediately follow the complaint procedures in s. 112.324. However, if the complaint alleges an immaterial, inconsequential, or de minimis error or omission, the commission may not take any action on the complaint, other than notifying the filer of the complaint. The filer must be given 30 days to file a new final full and public disclosure of financial interests correcting any errors. If the filer does not file a new final full and public disclosure of financial interests within 30 days after the commission sends notice of the complaint, the commission may continue with proceedings pursuant to s. 112.324.
(c) For purposes of this section, an error or omission is immaterial, inconsequential, or de minimis if the original filing provided sufficient information for the public to identify potential conflicts of interest. However, failure to certify completion of annual ethics training required under s. 112.3142 does not constitute an immaterial, inconsequential, or de minimis error or omission.
(9)(a) An individual required to file a disclosure pursuant to this section may have the disclosure prepared by an attorney in good standing with The Florida Bar or by a certified public accountant licensed under chapter 473. After preparing a disclosure form, the attorney or certified public accountant must sign the form indicating that he or she prepared the form in accordance with this section and the instructions for completing and filing the disclosure forms and that, upon his or her reasonable knowledge and belief, the disclosure is true and correct. If a complaint is filed alleging a failure to disclose information required by this section, the commission shall determine whether the information was disclosed to the attorney or certified public accountant. The failure of the attorney or certified public accountant to accurately transcribe information provided by the individual required to file is not a violation of this section.
(b) An elected officer or candidate who chooses to use an attorney or a certified public accountant to prepare his or her disclosure may pay for the services of the attorney or certified public accountant from funds in an office account created pursuant to s. 106.141 or, during a year that the individual qualifies for election to public office, the candidate’s campaign depository pursuant to s. 106.021.
(10) The commission shall adopt rules and forms specifying how a person who is required to file full and public disclosure of financial interests may amend his or her disclosure statement to report information that was not included on the form as originally filed. If the amendment is the subject of a complaint filed under this part, the commission and the proper disciplinary official or body shall consider as a mitigating factor when considering appropriate disciplinary action the fact that the amendment was filed before any complaint or other inquiry or proceeding, while recognizing that the public was deprived of access to information to which it was entitled.
History.s. 1, ch. 82-98; s. 3, ch. 88-358; s. 19, ch. 91-45; s. 4, ch. 94-277; s. 1409, ch. 95-147; s. 2, ch. 2000-243; s. 30, ch. 2000-258; s. 127, ch. 2003-261; s. 3, ch. 2006-275; s. 7, ch. 2013-36; s. 3, ch. 2014-183.