On May 15, the FPPC will consider expanding the available grounds for withholding the name of a source of income on Form 700. Currently, when disclosure of a source of income would violate a statutory privilege under the Evidence Code, Regulation 18740 provides a mechanism to withhold the name of the source of income and explain the grounds for the withholding. The proposed revisions to Regulation 18740 would broaden the grounds for withholding the names to include other state and federal privacy and confidentiality laws.
Since Regulation 18740 has been in effect, the FPPC confronted scenarios that do not fit into the strict language of the regulation, but deserved protection of a filer’s privacy or the privacy of those who were associated with the filer. For example, a judge who was under police protection due to threats of retaliation by members of criminal gangs wished to avoid disclosure of a residence occupied by his elderly parents. A planning commissioner, who ran a battered women’s shelter for 10 years, wished to avoid pinpointing the location of a “safe house” that sheltered women and children.
The proposed amendments to Regulation 18740 would provide the FPPC with authority to consider and exempt from disclosure situations that do not currently fall within California’s Evidence Code, but that may be subject to protection by other state and federal laws. The proposed amendments would also create a mechanism for obtaining a preliminary determination on a request to withhold the identity of a source of income. The FPPC is currently accepting comments on the proposed amendments.