Fighting Conflicts of Interest in Officialdom: Constitutional and Practical Guidelines for State Financial Disclosure Laws

This note will examine the individual interests in running for office and in personal financial privacy in order to determine what level of scrutiny should be applied to disclosure statutes. After concluding that only minimal scrutiny should apply–a standard certainly met by the state’s strong interests–it will be argued that nonconstitutional considerations bearing on the practicality of disclosure statutes nevertheless require a careful balancing of the state interest in disclosure against the individual interests of each class of persons affected by the statutes. The discussion of the strength of the state’s interest in disclosure with respect to each class will suggest legislative guidelines that achieve a practical balancing of state and individual interests.