Senate Delays Putting Thousands Of Senior Federal Workers’ Financial Disclosures Online

Filed under: News,Politics |

The Senate has delayed part of a new federal financial disclosure rule that could lead to online postings of financial disclosure forms filed by senior federal officials, including many career employees.

About 28,000 senior career federal employees, political appointees and high-ranking military officers file annual financial disclosure reports. The reports are public information had been available for only by request.

The Stock Act would make individual and family financial information in the financial disclosures available online.

The online financial disclosure online posting requirement was to have taken effect 30 August 2012. It was delayed until 30 September by an earlier temporary law.

A federal court that is presiding over a lawsuit against the requirement ordered a further delay in implementing the rule through October.

On 30 September 2012 the Senate passed a bill without debate delaying that aspect of the STOCK Act until 8 December 2012 while ordering an outside review of the potential effects of making those reports so readily available.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, STOCK, was enacted by Congress 4 April 2012. President Barack Obama signed it into the same day.

Financial Disclosure Rule Originally Aimed At Congress

Sen. Joe Lieberman proposed the financial disclosure rule

Sen. Joe Lieberman

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) introduced the STOCK Act on 26 January 2012. The bill passed the Senate by a 60-40 vote. The House of Representatives passed it by a 400-2 vote.

STOCK was intended to combat insider trading by member of Congress and their staffs.

The bill prohibits the use of non-public information for private profit, including insider trading by members of Congress and other government employees. It confirms changes to the Commodity Exchange Act, specifies reporting intervals for financial transactions.

According to the current United States Senate Select Committee on Ethics, “A member, officer, or employee of the Senate shall not receive any compensation, nor shall he permit any compensation to accrue to his beneficial interest from any source, the receipt or accrual of which would occur by virtue of influence improperly exerted from his position as a member, officer, or employee.”

The Senate bill delays the posting requirement for all except the president, the vice president, members of Congress, candidates for Congress and Senate-confirmed political appointees at Cabinet secretary and deputy secretary levels.

At least one senior career federal official, a scientist at the National Institutes of Health, has objected to the STOCK online disclosure requirement and is mounting the legal challenge to the requirement.

The Senate bill also orders the Office of Personnel Management to hire the National Academy of Public Administration to research any potential harm to national security or other government missions as well as the personal safety and financial security of federal employees and their families.

The report would be due in six months.

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