Texas Attorney General Opinion: H-1070 Page: 2 of 6
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Honorable Ben Z. Grant
power of a home rule city to enact financial disclosure re-
quirements applicable to city officials. We perceive no
conflict between article 6252-9b and the proposed ordinance.
You ask if the proposed ordinance would unconstitutionally
burden the right of free speech and expression or the right to
seek office. You also question whether the ordinance might in-
vade constitutionally protected zones of privacy, constitute an
unreasonable search and seizure, or violate the prohibition
against compelled self-incrimination. Similar constitutional
challenges have been considered by the courts of various states.
The case traditionally cited by those who would find financial
disclosure laws unconstitutional is City of Carmel-by-the-Sea v.
Young, 466 P.2d 225 (Cal. 1970). In Attorney General Opinion
H-15 (1973), we stated:
In light of . . . [Stein v. Howlett, 289
N.E.2d 409 (Ill. 1972), appeal dismissed
for want of substantial federal question,
412 U.S. 925 (1973)], we now believe the
Carmel-by-the Sea opinion overbalanced
the scales in favor of private rights,
and that a different shift in the balance
will be found by the Texas Supreme Court
and the United States Supreme Court when
such questions reach them.
Id. at 2. Our belief in this regard has been reinforced by a
virtual barrage of recent court decisions upholding financial dis-
closure requirements in the face of constitutional challenges
similar to those you suggest. Illinois State Employees Ass'n v.
Walker, 315 N.E.2d 9 (Ill.), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 1058 (1974);
Montgomery County v. Walsh, 336 A.2d 97 (Md. 1975), appeal dis-
missed for want of substantial federal question, 424 U.S. 901
(1976); Chamberlin v. Missouri Elections Comm'n, 540 S.W.2d 876
(Mo. 1976); Kenny v. Byrne, 365 A.2d 211 (Super. Ct. App. Div.
1976), cert. granted, 372 A.2d 321 (N.J. 1977); Lehrhaupt v.
Flynn, 356 A.2d 35 (Super. Ct. App. Div. 1976); Evans v. Care
385 N.Y.S.2d 965 (App. Div.), aff'd,359 N.E.2d 983 (N.Y 1976);
Fritz v. Gorton, 517 P.2d 911 (Wash.), appeal dismissed for want
of substantial federal question, 417 U.S. 902 (1974); In re
Kading, 235 N.W.2d 409 (Wisc. 1976). Even the Supreme Court of
California has distinguished its previous Carmel-by-the-Sea
decision in upholding a new financial disclosure law. County
of Nevada v. MacMillen, 522 P.2d 1345 (Cal. 1974). We have
examined the proposed ordinance in light of these decisions, and
we do not believe the courts would find it to violate any of
the constitutional provisions about which you inquire.
- Page 2 (H-1070)
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Texas. Attorney-General's Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: H-1070, text, 1977; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth271595/m1/2/: accessed September 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.