The controversial provision to an insider trading law that would require the online posting of senior federal employees’ financial disclosure forms has twice been delayed by Congress and even put on hold by a district court judge.
The most recent extension, signed into law by President Barack Obama, delays implementation of the requirement until Dec. 8
But now, at least one lawmaker says he’s already planning for another delay when Congress returns after the election — and possibly even a bill nixing the measure altogether.
“This was certainly uncalled for, unnecessary and I hope it can be undone,” Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said of the initial reporting provision, in an interview this week on In Depth with Francis Rose.
The President signed the STOCK Act, short for Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge, into law after Congress approved it last spring. Originally conceived to prevent lawmakers and their staffs from insider trading, the law’s public reporting requirements were expanded to include some 28,000 members of the Senior Executive Service.
The delays on the reporting provision, Section 11, are just a first step, Moran suggested.
The current extension, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and approved by the House and Senate in pro forma sessions, also requires the National Academy of Public Administration to carry out a six-month review of the disclosure provision to determine potential harm to employees.
And when Congress returns after the November election, Moran said he will push to further delay implementation until after the study is completed in mid-2013.
“We have no cause to be forcing federal employees to be disclosing all of their personal financial information for anyone to access online,” he said. “I would much prefer that we kill that whole section of the law.”
Moran said he believes lawmakers chose to include federal employees to divert negative media attention from their own questionable financial dealings.
“I could name names but I won’t, because I’m hoping that they will go along next year with eliminating Section 11 entirely,” he said.
Last month, a district court judge enjoined the implementation of Section 11, siding with the Senior Executives Association and other employee groups that claimed the provision amounted to an invasion of privacy.
“I don’t know how much more federal employees can give up,” Moran said. “Their pay has been frozen for three years, they’ve given up contributions to their health plans, their pensions are under attack … But this is certainly rubbing salt into the wound.”
Francis Rose is the host of In Depth, which airs weekdays from 4-7 p.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, DC metro area and online everywhere. Francis has covered all three branches of the federal government as a broadcast journalist since 1998. He joined Federal News Radio in 2006 as the producer and news anchor of the station’s morning drive program, the Federal Drive. He launched In Depth in 2008 as a daily show focused on connecting federal executives to the information they need to do their jobs better.