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Call To Halt Federal Financial Disclosures

by Glenn Hess
April 8, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 14

Congress should “indefinitely suspend” requirements for the online posting of personal financial information for 28,000 senior members of the executive branch, including military officers and government scientists, a federal advisory group says. The requirements are the result of provisions in the Stock Act, which was enacted last year to address concerns that members of Congress are exempt from insider trading laws. Under the law, high-ranking federal employees must disclose in an online database their financial information. Critics have complained that a searchable, online database is an invasion of privacy and would subject federal workers to an increased risk of identity theft. In a report mandated by Congress, the nonpartisan National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) concludes that posting personal financial information “does indeed impose unwarranted risk to national security and law enforcement, as well as threaten agency missions, individual safety, and privacy.” Congress has delayed the deadline three times, but the Internet posting requirements are now due to begin on April 15. Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), chair of the homeland security committee, says he will give NAPA’s findings “very serious consideration” as his committee determines the appropriate next steps.


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