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Friday, August 30, 2013

Financial Disclosure by Federal Officials and Publication of Disclosure Reports

Jack Maskell
Legislative Attorney

High-level officials in all three branches of the federal government are required to publicly disclose detailed information concerning their financial holdings and transactions in income- producing property and assets, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and real property, as well as information on income, gifts, and reimbursements from private non-governmental sources. Covered federal officials must disclose this information not only for themselves, but also must disclose much of the same required financial information with regard to their spouses and dependent children.

Public financial disclosure and reporting requirements, originally adopted in the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, apply to the President, Vice President, all Members of Congress (as well as to candidates for President, Vice President, or Congress), federal judges and justices, and to employees in all three branches of the federal government who are compensated at a rate of pay over a particular amount (generally, 120% of the base salary of a GS-15) for more than 60 days in a calendar year.

Covered officers and employees of the federal government must file detailed financial reports on an annual basis by May 15, setting out information for the previous year on income, gifts, reimbursements, financial holdings and assets, financial transactions, outside positions held, and any agreements or understandings for future private employment.

In addition to the annual May 15 reports, all covered public filers must file more frequent public reports throughout the year concerning financial transactions of over $1,000 in assets such as stocks or bonds. Such periodic reports on financial transactions must be filed within 30 days of the receipt of notice of any such covered purchase or sale (but not later than 45 days of the actual transaction).

For the highest-level officials in the executive and legislative branches of governmentthe President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and executive officials compensated on Level I of the Executive Schedule (Cabinet officials) and Level II of the Executive Schedule (including sub-Cabinet officials and heads of executive branch and independent agencies)all of the public reports required to be filed, including the annual report and the periodic transaction reports, are to be posted on the Internet for public availability, searching, and downloading. For all other  covered employees in the federal government, the financial disclosure reports remain publicly available to individuals and the press at the employees agency.

Date of Report: August 22, 2013
Number of Pages: 9
Order Number: R43186
Price: $19.95

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