When the Senate took what was generally viewed as necessary action to scale back an overly broad provision of a federal transparency law Thursday, it did so without much transparency of its own.
With most of the Senate’s attention focused on guns and immigration, the Senate quietly acted to dramatically scale back the reach of the law’s most contentious provision. Absent Congressional action or a court order, the law known as the STOCK Act requiring online publication of financial information for a slew of federal employees would take effect next week.
The Senate bill passed Thursday by unanimous consent goes beyond a simple delay. If passed by the House and signed by President Barack Obama, the measure would exclude legislative and executive staffers from having their financial disclosure forms posted on the Internet. The new reporting requirements would still apply to the president, vice president, members of Congress, congressional candidates and individuals subject to Senate confirmation.
Congress has previously delayed implementation of pieces of the STOCK Act without much fanfare, but the earlier cases came before a National Academy of Public Administration report produced at the request of Congress and released last month showed serious national security risks with publication of the information in a more readily available format.