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Congress Repeals Financial Disclosure Requirements For Senior U.S. Officials

Published: April 13, 2013
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Source: NPR

Joining the Senate, the House of Representatives approved a measure today that repeals a requirement that top government officials post financial disclosures on the Internet.

 

The House, like the Senate, acted quietly without a vote. Instead, they sent the measure to the president's desk by unanimous consent.

The provision was part of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (Stock), which became law in March of 2012. The act was intended to stop members of congress from profiting from nonpublic information.

As NPR's Tamara Keith reported, at the time, Sen. Joe Lieberman called the law "the most significant congressional ethics reform legislation to pass Congress in at least five years."

The Washington Post explains:

"That law mainly addressed conflict-of-interest policies for members of Congress and their staffs, but it also included a requirement that the financial disclosure forms filed by some 28,000 high-ranking federal employees be posted online.

"While those forms are public records, they must be requested individually from employing agencies. The Stock Act envisions online posting first on agency sites and later in a central, searchable database.

"The posting requirement was delayed three times out of concerns about the potential for identity theft and other crimes against career employees, as well as security risks to the government."

The Sunlight Foundation, which advocates for a more open government, called today's repeal an "epic failure."

The foundation explained that instead of addressing specific security concerns, Congress has acted broadly.

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