Senate Votes to Delay Financial Disclosure Law for Federal Employees
Federal researchers who are worried about a new law that would require that their financial information be posted publicly online can breathe easier for
the moment. The U.S. Senate on Saturday voted to approve a bill that delays until 8 December this provision of the so-called STOCK Act. The House of
Representatives is likely to approve the bill during its recess, which will last until after the 6 November election,
The Washington Post reports.
The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, passed in April to prevent insider trading by members of Congress and their staff, includes a
provision that requires public posting of financial disclosures. The rule applies not only to Congress but to about 28,000 senior federal employees who
file certain disclosure forms. Right now those forms are available only upon request.
Federal employees have said that the law violates their privacy, could put them at risk for identity theft, and threatens the safety of employees in
high-security positions. And researchers at the National Institutes of Health and NASA have warned in a lawsuit that the requirement will hinder
recruitment and could persuade some federal scientists to leave government.
The disclosure requirement was set to kick in at the end of August but has been delayed twice already. Congress postponed it for a month, and 2 weeks ago a
federal judge granted a preliminary injunction blocking it until the end of October. The bill just passed by the Senate delays the provision further for
all but top-level officials and also calls for the National Academy of Public Administration to review its possible effects within 6 months, the Post reports.