Federal judges will soon face stricter financial disclosure requirements

  • The House passed a bill that would subject federal judges to stricter disclosure requirements.
  • This follows a 2021 Wall Street Journal investigation into the personal finances of federal judges.
  • Lawmakers are also debating banning members of Congress from trading stocks.

The US House on Wednesday passed bipartisan legislation that would subject Supreme Court justices and federal judges to stricter financial disclosure requirements.

The measure, known as the Court’s Ethics and Transparency Act, would require federal court officials, bankruptcy judges and magistrate judges to report their financial transactions in stocks or other forms of securities worth more than $1,000 within 45 days of the transaction. .

It would also require the judiciary to create an online database where the public can access this information in order to create more transparency about whether judges have a conflict of interest in a case they are presiding over.

“All federal officials must be held to at least the same standard of transparency as members of Congress,” said Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, adding that the new rules “will help build confidence in our judicial system.” .

US lawmakers and senior congressional officials are also subject to similar financial disclosure requirements under the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, also known as the STOCK Act.

Government ethics watchdogs, including Project On Government Oversight, applauded the passage of the legislation.

The bill, approved in a vote and already approved in the Senate, received bipartisan support. The measure is now forwarded to President Joe Biden, who must sign it.

The bill’s approval follows a 2021 Wall Street Journal investigation that found that more than 130 federal judges broke the law by overseeing cases in which they or their family members had a potential financial interest.

The timing of the bill’s passage is also notable because Congress is actively debating whether to ban federal lawmakers and their spouses from trading individual stocks.

Insider’s ongoing “Conflicted Congress” investigation, which found that dozens of lawmakers and at least 182 senior-level Congressional officials violated the STOCK Act by failing to properly disclose their own stock transactions.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have jointly introduced several measures to prohibit members of Congress and their spouses from holding or trading individual stocks. In early April, the House Management Committee held a public hearing on the matter, and lawmakers continue to debate next steps.

The passage of the Court’s Ethics and Transparency Act could create more momentum for lawmakers to pass a measure to prohibit members of Congress from trading individual stocks while in office, in order to avoid conflicts of interest.

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