Frequently Asked Questions - General Information
A financial disclosure filer is always required to provide financial information for the complete calendar year prior to the year in which she is filing, even if the filer was not a public servant or candidate in that year. Adv. Op. No. 75-032.
For example, a candidate for city council in 2017 would file a financial disclosure statement for calendar year 2016. The 2016 statement would not include any financial information for calendar year 2017. If the candidate is elected, she must file a disclosure statement in each year she serves on council, reflecting financial information for the preceding calendar year.
This method assures that the same types of financial information are disclosed by all officials, for the same time frame, regardless of when during the year a particular official is required to file.
The financial disclosure statement is a statement of personal financial information, and the requirement to file is not tied to campaign spending. The filing of the statement requires you to review your financial interests in order to assess your potential for conflicts of interest, and informs voters about your financial interests so they can make informed choices about candidates. If you are a candidate for state, county, or city elective office, you must file a financial disclosure statement, regardless of the amount of money you spent on your campaign.
No. The campaign finance report is a different document, disclosing different information. You are required to file the FDS regardless of whether you filed a campaign finance report. More information about campaign financial reports is available in R.C. 3517.10 and by contacting your county board of elections.
You are required to file a statement for each year in which you hold a filing position. Therefore, you are required to file a statement, reflecting the complete preceding calendar year, in the year after you leave your public position. This applies to all persons who served in any filing position. It does not apply to candidates who are not elected to office. Adv. Op. No. 75-032.
For example, a high-ranking state official leaves her state position in February 2018. By May 15, 2018, she must file an FDS that discloses financial information for calendar year 2017. Because she served in part of 2018, she will file a separate and updated FDS before May 15, 2019, disclosing financial information for all of 2018.
No. The Ethics Law states that no person is required to file more than one financial disclosure statement for any one calendar year. If you are required to file in your new position as well as your former position, you need to file only one annual statement. R.C. 102.02(A) and OEC Adv. Op. No. 93-005.
If the level of disclosure for the two positions is the same, then you file in accordance with the new position. If the level of disclosure for the two positions differs, then you file the statement for the position with the higher level of disclosure. You pay the filing fee that accompanies the statement you filed.
If your new position requires you to file with an ethics office other than the one you had been filing with in your previous position, contact the Ohio Ethics Commission or the other office to determine which office should receive your statement.
Ohio Ethics Commission: (614) 466-7090
Joint Legislative Ethics Committee: (614) 728-5100
Board of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court of Ohio: (614) 387-9370
No. You are required to file only one statement per calendar year. If you serve in more than one filing position, you must disclose information for all of them on the statement.
Generally, you should answer the questions and pay the fee for the public position that requires the greater level of disclosure to the public. If both positions have the same level of disclosure, or you have other questions, you are welcome to call the Ethics Commission to clarify different filing requirements. More information is available here: OAC 102-5-06.
No. The Commission cannot fax blank financial disclosure forms. You can download a blank financial disclosure statement from the Ethics Commission's web site or contact the Commission, and the staff will mail you a blank form. Blank forms are also available from the public entity you serve and from county boards of elections.
No. Each form must be legible, and must have an original signature. Therefore, the Commission will not accept filings submitted by fax. You may, however, file electronically using the Commission's online filing portal located at https://disclosure.ethics.ohio.gov.
If your FDS has a “Statement of Interest” attached, you file an FDS that is confidential by statutory requirement. R.C. 102.02(B). The Commission is required to review all confidential statements for the potential of a conflict of interest. The purpose of the Statement of Interest is to assist the Commission in identifying those potential conflicts of interest as required by law. The Commission is required by statute to make any portion of a confidential FDS available for public review if the portion demonstrates the potential for conflicts of interest.
You can request a copy of an FDS filed during or after 2004 from the Commission by calling us or stopping by the Office, or by mailing or e-mailing a request.
Older statements are archived at the Ohio Historical Society, 1982 Velma Avenue, Columbus, OH 43211. You must contact the Historical Society directly to review or receive a copy of an archived statement. The Historical Society will charge you for copies of financial disclosure statements.