Financial transparency bill clears CA Assembly

capitol sacramentoLegislation to increase requirements for financial disclosures for government officials passed the state Assembly on Tuesday in a unanimous 66-0 vote.

Assembly Bill 10, authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Glendale, modernizes the Form 500 disclosure document in five ways:

  1. “Clarify the reporting ranges for investments, property and income to be more specific and more in line with modern property-value ranges, providing more accurate information of the financial interests of an elected official;
  2. “Require elected officials to disclose who their business partners are;
  3. “Require elected officials to disclose what exactly their businesses do;
  4. “Require elected officials to report the specific instances when they recused themselves from a vote because of a conflict of interest; and
  5. “Extend the behested payment reporting requirements to include candidates, and elected officials for one year after leaving elective office, so that elected officials must disclose if they solicit funds from outside institutions during their term in order to pay their own salaries on their way out of office.”

“Increased transparency is essential to protecting public resources, preventing corruption and restoring public trust,” said Gatto in a prepared statement. “This legislation will modernize disclosure forms to reveal the business dealings of political insiders and give Californians greater access to information about their representatives.”

As Jeff Mitchell of the Salinas Californian previously reported, the current Form 700 documents are “completely undemanding and lax … in compelling local, county and state officials to tell us the actual nature of their personal financial affairs.” Without this information, he said, constituents “would never know when our electeds and key civil ministers are acting in the best interests of themselves or their friends and not of the public.”

AB10 has been ordered to the state Senate for consideration.

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