Regulatory Focus™ > News Articles > Bill Delaying Transparency Measures Passed Into Law

Bill Delaying Transparency Measures Passed Into Law

Posted 01 October 2012 | By Alexander Gaffney, RAC 

US legislators have delayed the implementation of legislation that would have required dozens of high-ranking officials at the US Food and Drug Administration and other federal agencies to disclose potentially dangerous personal information.

The act, known as the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act was originally brought up by legislators after a CBS 60 Minutes investigation suggested some members of Congress were using insider information to gain a competitive edge over other investors in the stock market. The bill dramatically expanded in scope over the course of its markup process, and came to include language requiring high-level staff at nearly all federal agencies to publicly disclose their financial records.

The passage of the law led to an outcry from scientists and security officials alike, all decrying not having had the ability to publicly comment on the law before its passage and the potential for the released information to be misused.

Of particular concern to federal employees was that the information could be used by thieves to steal an employee's identity, by groups to obtain information regarding the private lives of employees, or used as leverage if the releases contained sensitive information.

Those concerns seem to have been heard by legislators and President Barack Obama, who on 28 September signed into law a bill to delay the implementation of the STOCK Act.

Under the bill, S.3625, reporting requirements would not go into effect until after the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) has time to study how best to provide for disclosure and issue recommendations to that effect.

The NAPA's report is due to Congress in six months, giving federal employees an extensive reprieve before reporting requirements possibly go into effect. 


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