Form 700 and its History (Part 2)

An update on our effort to document the history of Form 700. We discuss that before 1995-1996, Form 700 was actually Form 721 for 87200 filers and Form 730 for everybody else.

Form 700 and its History (Part 2)

We've introduced California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) Form 700, Statement of Economic Interests (SEI), in Part 1 of this series.

In short: Form 700 is the primary way in which California's public officials disclose their potential conflicts of interest. Form 700 filing is administered by the FPPC for high-ranking elected officials (section 87200 filers) and by local agencies for all other officials that are subject to a conflict of interest code.

The 1974 Political Reform Act inaugurated SEI filing. We here at Electronic Filing Systems build and operate the eFile electronic filing solution for Form 700, Campaign finance reports, and lobbyist disclosures.

Form 700 is near and dear to our hearts, and we're always keen to discover and document the history of conflict of interest disclosures in California. In Part 1 of this series, we were able to retrieve a version of Form 700 for the 1999-2000 reporting year (i.e. filings executed in 2001). There appear to be no older versions out in the wild.

We weren't quite ready to give up. Our operations manager, Lena Marschall, reached out to the FPPC and asked for scanned copies of all available historic versions of Form 700. And boy did they deliver!

We received SEI forms all the way back to the 1990-1991 reporting period (filings finalized in 1992). And there were some surprises!

The biggest surprise: up until the 1996-1997 reporting year, there was no Form 700!

Instead, there was Form 721 for 87200 filers (high-ranking elected officials) and Form 730 for everybody else. Here are the cover pages of Forms 721 and 730 for 1990-1991:

Form 721 and Form 730 – the predecessors of Form 700

We also discovered that the most recent substantial change of Form 700 happened for the 2010-2011 reporting period, which saw an update of the form cover page. Since then, only details have been updated. The current schedule structure (A-1, A-2, B, C, D, E) has been the same the 2004-2005 reporting period.

In the old forms before 1996-1997, there were many more schedules than today, but it appears that many of these schedules were combined in today's forms. Here's the schedule table for Form 721 for the 1995-1996 reporting period.

Feel free to browse all the available old forms on our Form 700 Gallery. We'll redouble our efforts and will try to obtain even older versions of Forms 7xx for our archive. Stay tuned!