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Tag Archive: Ethics

The STOCK Act and Security through Obscurity

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Congress has been delaying implementation of the STOCK Act, largely out of fear over what could happen if disclosures go online. A new report from the National Academy of Public Administration says those fears are well-founded. But its reasoning is flawed, and its recommendations -- which amount to security through obscurity -- are badly wrong-headed. If there are problems with the disclosures mandated by STOCK, let's fix them. Ignoring them and hoping that obscurity will prevent bad things from happening is not only short-sighted, it's dangerous.

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House rules package has new ethics clauses, strange wrinkles

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Fresh off taking the oath of office earlier today, the new members of the House of Representatives are about to vote to adopt a set of rules and orders this afternoon. There are a few ethics-related changes that are significant. There are also some unusual new wrinkles.

One welcome change for watchdog groups, including the Sunlight Foundation, is the continuation of the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, which has to be reauthorized by each Congress. The terms of four board members -- Yvonne Burke, Jay Eagen, Karan English and Allison Hayward -- expired at the end of the last Congress but ...

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STOCK Act Sausage Making

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If ever there were an example of knee-jerk legislating, the STOCK Act may be it. A thoughtful and comprehensive bill, introduced by Rep. Slaughter, languished for years until some bad publicity made Members of Congress decide to “take action.” But in their haste to demonstrate they were responsive to the public’s outcry over allegations of congressional insider trading, Congress passed a watered down version of the bill. Furthermore, since passing the STOCK Act, Congress has twice acted to delay implementation of the bill, citing the risk of unintended consequences of the transparency measures they enacted. The hurry up and wait method of legislating leaves one to wonder what will be disclosed when the sausage making is complete.

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