Charles S. Clark | March 23, 2017 | 0 Comments

White House Plans Advance Disclosure of Its Own Appointees' Financial Forms

In a nod to transparency, the White House on Wednesday announced it will begin posting financial disclosure forms of its high-level appointees, eventually to be displayed on a public Web portal at which citizens can request documents.

The posting of Office of Government Ethics form 278 for White House personnel will begin at the end of March, the White House said, as little as 30 days after forms are submitted for review. The 278s, after a maximum of 60 days, are sent over to the Office of Government Ethics, which certifies them if they present no conflicts of interest, often within 30 days.

Currently, only agency appointees’ forms, titled “Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Reports,” and not those of White House staff are posted on OGE’s website, and not always promptly.

» Get the best federal news and ideas delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here.

“As per the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 and the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, high-level officials in the White House are required to file public financial disclosure reports,” the announcement said. “Under section 105 of the Ethics in Government Act, these reports are available to the public upon request.”

President Trump’s legal team promised to release some even before they are certified by the Office of White House Counsel or the OGE.

Transparency groups welcomed the move. “This is a good step forward for the administration, one that they should have taken from the start,” said Jordan Libowitz, communications director for the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which has requested many such documents on its own.

On March 14, CREW attorneys used them to file a complaint against Christopher Liddell, a former General Motors and Microsoft executive now assistant to the president and director of Strategic Initiatives. The suit said he may have broken criminal conflict of interest laws by participating in meetings between President Trump and manufacturing companies the administration is urging to create more jobs. “On Jan. 23, Liddell participated with Trump in a meeting with business leaders from 12 companies, including 10 in which Liddell appears to have held stock worth approximately $2.1 million,” CREW said.

Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight, was also pleased. “We hope that this move includes all senior staff and advisers. Based on the many concerns about Trump's own businesses, it would be great if the president released a new financial disclosure report rather than waiting until 2018 as well as details about his efforts to isolate himself from his businesses and plans to not violate the Constitution,” Amey said. “It's about time everyone turns their attention to improving the government rather than asking and answering ethics questions.” 

Comments
JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.