Tuesday, April 23, 2013

STOCK Act Reversal Signed by President

John Boehner gives the thumbs up to congressional insider trading
President Obama has just signed a rollback of key transparency provisions of the STOCK Act. Late Thursday night, as we reported last week, the Senate gutted the disclosure requirements by approving S.716, an act amending the requirements of the 2011 law. The House followed suit the next day, and the president signed the bill minutes ago.

The bill doesn't just eliminate a controversial requirement that personal financial disclosures of tens of thousands of high level federal employees be made publicly accessible online. It also reverses two critical components of the original STOCK act: mandatory electronic filing of PFDs by the president, his cabinet and members of Congress, and the creation of a publicly accessible database.

The elements of the STOCK Act that were removed include:
  • Creation of searchable, sortable disclosure of the information contained in reports even for Congress, the president, vice president, the president’s cabinet and congressional candidates.
  • Required electronic filing for Congress, the president, vice president, the president’s cabinet and congressional candidates, as well as high-level executive and congressional branch employees.
Even images of the staffers' filings will not be available for viewing on the web. Without the provisions, the STOCK act is made toothless. Insider trading by members of Congress and federal employees is still prohibited, but the ability of watchdog groups to verify that Congress is following its own rules is severely limited because these records could still be filed on paper -- an unacceptably outdated practice that limits the public's access.

This is not true disclosure. Contact President Obama’s office today to signal your disappointment, and urge YOUR members of Congress to file their personal financial disclosure documents electronically and to propose legislation reinstating the database provision.

No comments: