House sends bill requiring online publication of justices’ financial information to Biden

The House on Wednesday passed a bill that would require federal judges’ financial disclosure reports to be posted online, and the legislation is now headed to President Biden’s office.

the legislation, dubbed the Courthouse Ethics and Transparency Act, passed the House by voice vote. The Senate approved the bill by voice vote in February.

If signed into law by Biden, the legislation would amend the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 by requiring that financial disclosure reports submitted by federal judges be posted in a publicly accessible online searchable database.

The bill would also require federal judges to file periodic transaction reports for securities transactions worth more than $1,000 within 45 days of the transaction.

Bailiffs, bankruptcy judges and justices of the peace would all be subject to the policy. Supreme Court justices are currently not required to disclose financial transactions.

The House passed its own version of the bill in December in a 422-4 vote.

The bill came after a the wall street journal An investigation released in September found that 131 federal judges violated federal law between 2010 and 2018 while overseeing lawsuits involving companies in which they had invested.

Federal judges are not authorized to preside over cases involving a party in which they, their spouse or their minor children have an interest.

Rep. Deborah Ross (DN.C.), one of the lawmakers who introduced the bill to the House, said the legislation will “enhance transparency, accountability and public confidence in the ability of our courts.” to dispense fair and impartial justice. ”

“This bill will impose on federal judges the same financial transaction disclosure requirements as members of the legislative and executive branches of government, eliminating an unwarranted double standard,” she added in a statement. statement.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who also introduced the bill in the House, said, “Confidence in our justice system requires clear impartiality from judges.”

“To improve that trust, judges should be required to disclose their financial interests to the American public, which means at least adhering to the same standard that is currently applied to members of the United States House and United States Senate.” , he said in a statement.

Roy noted that federal judges “are increasingly faced with cases involving corporations and other parties that can impact the financial investments and overall wealth of those judges and create conflicts of interest.”

The passage of the bill comes amid interest in greater financial transparency in Washington. A number of congressional lawmakers have pushed for legislation barring members of Congress from trading in stocks.

Jacob L. Thornton