Last night, the House Democrats revealed the much anticipated companion lobbying and ethics bill to the Senate's S.1 (we'll have a more detailed look later). Included in the bill is a provision to put personal financial disclosures and travel reports online for the first time. As you may know, we've been lobbying for this and consider this to be a great victory for transparency in the House of Representatives. We commend the House for continuing to towards a more open and accessible online presence. Thanks to everyone who called or sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and members of the Judiciary Committee. We've heard that your calls and letters helped push the leadership to include this provision. In the face of newspaper articles doubting the seriousness of the reform effort in the House this provision should indicate that the House is willing to make their own institution more transparent and open to the public at large. Now, for the provision itself. (Clause (a)(2) requires personal financial disclosures be put online.)
SEC. 402. POSTING OF TRAVEL AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REPORTS ON PUBLIC WEBSITE OF CLERK OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
(a) Requiring Posting on Internet- The Clerk of the House of Representatives shall post on the public Internet site of the Office of the Clerk each of the following:
(1) The advance authorizations, certifications, and disclosures filed with respect to transportation, lodging, and related expenses for travel under clause 5(b) of rule XXV of the Rules of the House of Representatives by Members (including Delegates and Resident Commissioners to the Congress), officers, and employees of the House.
(2) The reports filed under section 103(h)(1) of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 by Members of the House of Representatives (including Delegates and Resident Commissioners to the Congress).
(b) Applicability and Timing-
(1) APPLICABILITY- Subject to paragraph (2), subsection (a) shall apply with respect to information received by the Clerk of the House of Representatives on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.
(2) TIMING- The Clerk of the House of Representatives shall–
(A) not later than August 1, 2008, post the information required by subsection (a) that the Clerk receives by June 1, 2008; and
(B) not later than the end of each 45-day period occurring after information is required to be posted under subparagraph (A), post the information required by subsection (a) that the Clerk has received since the last posting under this subsection.
(c) Retention- The Clerk shall maintain the information posted on the public Internet site of the Office of the Clerk under this section for a period of at least 6 years after receiving the information.