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Law Nixes Financial Disclosures For Senior Federal Scientists

Ethics: Online mandate to apply mainly to President, Congress

by Glenn Hess
April 18, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 16

An ethics measure that would have required high-ranking federal employees, including government scientists, to disclose their personal financial information online was scaled back last week with legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The bill (S. 716) repeals a controversial provision of the STOCK (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) Act, which Congress passed last year to explicitly bar insider trading on the stock market by members of Congress. During Senate consideration, language was added to the bill that expanded the personal financial reporting requirements to executive branch employees.

The provision, which was scheduled to take effect on April 15, would have required the Office of Government Ethics to post online the annual financial disclosure forms of 28,000 senior federal workers.

The Assembly of Scientists, which represents federally funded scientists, and other government employee organizations voiced strong concerns about the online disclosure mandate and its unintended consequences for privacy and personal security.

Now, under the revised law, the online reporting requirements will apply to just the President, vice president, members of and candidates for Congress, and Senate-confirmed presidential appointees.


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