Form 700 and its history (Part 1)

Form 700 and its history (Part 1)

California Form 700, Statement of Economic Interests (SEI), is the primary way in which California's public officials disclose their potential conflicts of interest. Electronic Filing Systems's eFile system provides a modern, streamlined, mobile-friendly filing experience for Form 700 filers. For agencies, eFile automates much of the process and makes it easy to administer filings and filers.

Form 700's history dates back to the aftermath of the Watergate scandal. In the June 1974 election, California voters passed proposition 9 with an approval of 70%, which created The Political Reform Act. the California law that made California a national leader in regulating government ethics, political campaign finance, and lobbying activity.

The Political Reform Act created the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) and gave it the primary responsibility for the impartial and effective administration of The Political Reform Act. The FPPC is similar to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), but it has the added responsibilities to oversee lobbying activity and conflict of interests.

Form 700 was created by the FPPC in direct response to the conflict of interest provisions of The Political Reform Act. The FPPC maintains Form 700 filings for high-level officials (so-called 87200 filers) while local agencies (cities, counties, and other government bodies) maintain their own conflict of interest codes and filing systems while sending their 87200 filings in copy to the FPPC (eFile integrates directly with the FPPC's system and handles the process automatically).

Since the internet has been around broadly only since the mid 1990s, not much information about historic version of Form 700 are available. The earliest electronic version we've been able to find is the 1999-2000 filing year form, which we've obtained from the Wayback Machine. Here is it:

Compare this with the 2022/2023 version available from the FPPC: 700/2022-23/Form_700_2022.pdf