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Senior Executives Association seeks repeal of financial disclosure requirements

Apr. 17, 2012 - 06:00AM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments
Senior Executives Association President Carol Bonosaro
Senior Executives Association President Carol Bonosaro (Staff file photo)

A new law increasing career senior executives' financial disclosure requirements already is having "a chilling effect" on recruitment and retention and those requirements should be repealed, leaders of the Senior Executives Association have told Congress.

Many career Senior Executive Service members "are considering retirement or falling back to a GS-15 in light of the new rules," SEA President Carol Bonosaro and General Counsel William Bransford wrote in a letter to the House and Senate government oversight committees. At the same time, many employees at the upper levels of the General Schedule are abandoning plans to join the SES, they said.

The association, which represents career SES members, released the April 13 letter on Tuesday; Bransford is also a Federal Times columnist.

The rules, part of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, require agencies to post online the public financial disclosure reports for SES members along with reports for many senior political appointees, and military generals and admirals by the end of August. Under the law, they must also disclose stock purchases and other financial transactions within 30 days.

Both provisions expand on previous requirements. Although the annual financial disclosure reports, known as Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Form 278s, were already public, agencies usually made them available only on paper in response to a request. Filers already had to report financial transactions worth more than $1,000, but only on a yearly basis.

Ordering more frequent reporting puts "an enormous burden" on career federal employees who use financial advisers to manage their assets and do not have time to follow the stock market, Bonosaro and Bransford said. The online posting of financial disclosure reports could hurt employees' privacy rights and leave them vulnerable to identify theft, they added.

SEA unsuccessfully raised similar objections as Congress was considering the STOCK Act earlier this year; the organization plans now to meet with congressional staff to discuss the issues, Bonosaro said in an email.

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