The State Ethics Commission does not administer Subtitle 5 (Conflicts of Interest) of the Ethics Law with respect to members of the General Assembly. That role has been assigned by the Ethics Law to the Joint Ethics Committee, assisted by the Ethics Advisor to the General Assembly. The State Ethics Commission does administer Subtitle 6 (Financial Disclosure) of the Ethics Law with respect to members of the General Assembly.
The State Ethics Commission administers a financial disclosure program that requires more than 14,000 State employees, elected officials, candidates for State elected offices, other categories of officials including State agency managers, regulators and purchasing staff, and some appointed members of boards and commissions to file annual financial disclosure statements. The financial disclosure forms require the filer to identify real estate interests, equity interests, and other relationships such as employment, debts and gifts so that the public can be assured that the impartiality and independent judgment of those officials and employees will be maintained. Legislators file a special form unique to the General Assembly, which is an expanded version of the form filed by the majority of State employees.
The general reporting deadline is April 30th of each year. New filers must file within 30 days of starting a position requiring financial disclosure. Persons leaving a position requiring disclosure must file a termination statement within 60 days of leaving that position.
The public can view filed financial disclosure forms at the Commission’s Office. Financial disclosure statements are available to the public for examination and copying. The individual who desires to view a financial disclosure statement must identify him or herself and provide his or her address. On the request of the individual whose statement was examined or copied, the Commission will forward a copy of that record to that individual.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding financial disclosure.
The Commission’s Electronic Financial Disclosure Filing System facilitates filing by walking you through the process. The system will simplify subsequent filings by calling up the previously-filed form, allowing you to limit your work to those changes that have occurred since the previous filing.
As a result of legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2014, paper filing is no longer available. All Financial Disclosure Statements must be submitted electronically, except in very limited circumstances, as discussed below:
- A filer whose most recent filing was submitted on paper is grandfathered and may continue to file on paper. New filers and previous filers who did not file their most recent statements on paper do not qualify for this exception.
- A filer who can demonstrate a hardship that precludes filing electronically (e.g. no reasonable access to a computer or a physical disability that precludes electronic filing) may submit a request to the Commission to be granted an exemption allowing him/her to file on paper. Note here that executive branch employees, legislators and legislative branch employees are presumed to have access to a computer and would not qualify for a hardship exemption on that basis.
- Individuals who qualify to file on paper under paragraph (1), above, and who wish to do so, must request a paper form from the Commission. Individuals who believe they qualify for a hardship exemption under paragraph (2) must obtain an exemption request form (Form 27), from the Commission. The decision whether or not to grant a hardship exemption rests with the Executive Director.
Amendments to Financial Disclosure Statements
If you discover an error or omission in a previously remitted Financial Disclosure Statement, you need to file an amendment to correct the issue.
The Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics has stated that significant changes include changes in employment, acquisition or disposition of real property, information that becomes reportable because of change of marital status during the reporting period or other information that relates in a significant way to financial interests for the year.
Section 5-602(C) of the Public Ethics Law requires a member to file a preliminary disclosure on or before the seventh day of the regular legislative session if there has been a substantial change in the previous calendar year compared to the most recently filed Financial Disclosure Statement. If there have been no substantial changes, then a preliminary disclosure is not required. Regardless of whether you file a preliminary disclosure, you still must file your annual disclosure statement by April 30th. Simply put, at the start of a regular legislative session in January, if you have not as yet filed a financial disclosure statement for the most recent calendar year (which is not required until April 30), you must still disclose any substantial changes that have occurred during that most recent calendar year.
If you file your regular annual disclosure form on or before the seventh day of the Session, there is no need to file a preliminary disclosure.
– General Assembly Preliminary Substantial Change Form & Instructions
Please note: the Public Ethics Law now requires two originals of this form to be filed: one with the State Ethics Commission and one with the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics.