State of California Financial Disclosure Guidance
The State of California regulation §18755 requires disclosure under Government Code section 87302 or any conflict of interest code in connection with a decision made by a person or persons at an institution of higher education with principal responsibility for a research project to undertake such research, if it is to be funded or supported, in whole or in part by a gift, grant, contract, or (under certain circumstances) Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) or data under a Data Use Agreement (DUA) from a non-governmental organization (NGO).
What does this mean?
Per these regulations, principal investigators are required to disclose financial interests in non-governmental funding sources to determine if it is reasonably foreseeable that the interest would have a material financial effect on the research or educational activities, or in entities whose financial interests would reasonably appear to be effected by such activities. Investigators must also disclose the financial interests of their spouses/registered domestic partners and/or dependent children.
Funding from certain NGOs will not trigger a 700-U disclosure as they have been exempted from the process by the State. See the List of Non-governmental Entities Exempt From Disclosure Requirement approved by the University and the Fair Political Practices Commission for exemption from the University’s non-governmental entity financial disclosure requirement; all non-profit, tax-exempt educational institutions are exempt from the disclosure requirement.
What types of research does this apply to?
These regulations apply to any research project is funded or supported in whole or in part by a gift, grant, contract, or (under certain circumstances) Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) or data under a Data Use Agreement (DUA) from a non-governmental organization (NGO).
Any person employed by the University of California, i.e., the Principal Investigator (and Co-Investigator where appropriate), who has principal responsibility for a research project if it is to be funded or supported, in whole or in part by a nongovernmental entity sponsor or donor must submit a 700-U. Only researchers employed by the University of California may file a Form 700-U.
When Postdoctoral Scholars have appointments where they are exclusively paid under a “without-salary” status, a 700-U is not required. Without-salary appointments occur when a Postdoctoral Scholar has been awarded a fellowship or traineeship for postdoctoral study by an extramural agency and the fellowship or traineeship is paid exclusively through a University account (under Job Code 3253) or the agency pays the fellowship or traineeship directly to the Postdoctoral Scholar, rather than through the University (under Job Code 3254).
Postdoctoral Scholars that are paid, even partially, as employees under Job Codes 3252, 3255, 3256 will need to file a 700-U on projects where they have principal responsibility for a research project.
When are disclosures filed?
A State of California Financial Disclosure is required at the time a proposal is submitted to the Sponsored Projects Office or Industry Alliances Office.
Investigators must submit a 700-U within 30 days after the contract, grant, or gift is renewed that discloses reportable investments, income and business positions that the filer held or received during the period between the date the initial statement was filed and the date the project contract, grant, or gift was renewed.
If there is a change in PI, the new Investigator must submit a Form 700-U to their SPO Contract and Grant Officer or Industry Alliances Office contact.
What must be disclosed?
The principal investigator must disclose 1) paid or unpaid positions, including but not limited to, consultant, trustee, or director; 2) investment(s), whether direct, indirect, or beneficial; 3) income of $500 or more within the last 12 months, where income includes but is not limited to salary, interest, royalty payments, proceeds from sale, reimbursement for expenses, per diem; 4) loans within the last 12 months where the balance exceeds $500; 5) gifts within the last 12 months with a value of $50 or more; and 6) certain travel payments.
What is an Investment?
“Investment” means any financial interest in a business entity in which you, your spouse or registered domestic partner, or your dependent children have a direct, indirect, or beneficial interest totaling $2,000 or more. Reportable investments include stocks, bonds, warrants, and options, including those held in margin or brokerage accounts.
What is Income?
“Income” means a payment received, including but not limited to any salary, wage, advance, dividend, interest, rent, proceeds from any sale, gift, including any gift of food or beverage, loan forgiveness or payment of indebtedness received by the filer, reimbursement for expenses, per diem, or contribution to an insurance or pension program paid by any person other than an employer, and any community property interest in income of a spouse or registered domestic partner. Income also includes an outstanding loan. Income of an individual also includes a pro rata share of any income of any business entity or trust in which the individual, spouse, or registered domestic partner owns directly, indirectly, or beneficially, a 10% interest or greater. Income includes your gross income and your community property interest in your spouse’s or registered domestic partner’s gross income totaling $500 or more. Gross income is the total amount of income before deducting expenses, losses, or taxes.
What is a Loan?
Loans received or outstanding are reportable if they total $500 or more from a single lender. Your community property interest in loans received by your spouse or registered domestic partner also must be reported. Loans from commercial lending institutions made in the lender’s regular course of business on terms available to members of the public without regard to your official status are not reportable.
What is a Gift?
A gift is anything of value for which you have not provided equal or greater consideration to the donor. A gift is reportable if its fair market value is $50 or more. In addition, multiple gifts totaling $50 or more received from a reportable source must be reported. It is the acceptance of a gift, not the ultimate use to which it is put, that imposes your reporting obligation. Therefore you must report a gift even if you never used it or if you gave it away to another person. If the exact amount of a gift is not known, you must make a good faith estimate of the item’s fair market value. Listing the value of a gift as “over $50” or “value unknown” is not adequate disclosure.
What is the process for disclosing at UC Berkeley?
For the disclosure process at award and proposal stage and during the life of the award, see State of California Financial Disclosure.
What happens after the disclosure is submitted?
If the 700-U responses were all “no,” then nothing more is required unless there is a change. This is referred to as a “negative” disclosure.
If an investigator provides any “yes” responses to the 700-U questions, this is referred to as a “positive” disclosure and additional information is required. If a defined financial relationship is disclosed in the 700-U, an Addendum to Statement of Economic Interests for Principal Investigators must also be submitted. This disclosure will then be reviewed by the COI Coordinator and if necessary by the COI Committee. A financial interest does not necessarily mean a conflict of interest.
See Review and Management for more information on positive disclosures and the review process.