U.S. House panel advances bipartisan judicial stock disclosures bill
NOV 18 , 2021
A U.S. House of Representatives panel on Wednesday advanced a bipartisan bill that would require federal judges to report stock trades over $1,000 within 45 days and force the federal judiciary to post their financial disclosure forms online.
The House Judiciary Committee’s vote marked a rapid response to a Wall Street Journal report in September revealing that 131 federal judges failed to recuse themselves from cases involving companies in which they or their family members owned stock.
This = Congress Has to Fix. @maziehirono @SenJohnHoeven@SenHydeSmith @JimInhofe@SenRonJohnson @timkaine@SenMarkKelly @SenJohnKennedy@SenAngusKing @SenAmyKlobuchar@SenatorLankford @SenatorLeahy@SenMikeLee @SenatorLujan@SenLummis @Sen_JoeManchin@SenMarkey @SenatorMarshall https://t.co/txsdKVxFAO
— LawsInTexas (@lawsintexasusa) October 12, 2021
Reform advocates hailed the voice vote by the panel, which sent the Courthouse Ethics and Transparency Act of 2021 to the floor for consideration. That legislation, along with a companion bill in the Senate, was introduced just three weeks ago.
The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the judiciary’s administrative agency, did not respond to a request for comment. Judiciary officials have said they are looking at ways to improve how it handles financial disclosure reports.
Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the committee’s Democratic chairman, called the legislation “an important bipartisan effort to address an alarming lack of transparency in the personal financial holdings of federal judges.”
The bill would amend the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to require judges to submit securities transactions reports in line with other federal officials under the STOCK Act.
That law requires government officials to report securities transactions over $1,000 within 45 days.
The legislation also calls for the Administrative Office to create a searchable publicly accessible online database of judicial financial disclosure forms that are posted within 90 days of being filed.Judges’ financial disclosures are filed annually by May of the following year, but requests for copies of the disclosure forms can take months or even years to fulfill.