3/19/12: Last week NTEU wrote this letter to two key Senate leaders about NTEU’s views on the STOCK Act, which has passed both chambers of Congress in different versions. The STOCK Act originated in response to concerns about insider stock trading by members of Congress. Strong insider trading prohibitions and financial disclosure rules already exist for employees of the Executive Branch.
Due to a last minute floor amendment from Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), the Senate version of the STOCK Act includes a provision putting the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Form 450 filings on a searchable, public database. Over 350,000 federal employees file this form, including many bargaining unit employees at the SEC. NTEU believes that this goes too far, given the personal information provided on this form. The House version covers only those who file OGE Form 278, a document that is already publicly available.
Not a single instance of an NTEU member violating the insider trading prohibition has been advanced in support of these provisions. NTEU believes that everyone in public service, be they elected officials, political appointees, congressional staff, senior management or the civil, uniformed or foreign services, should and must act with the highest of ethical standards. At the same time, though, the ethics and disclosure regulations need to be appropriate for each of the various classes of persons in public service.
NTEU has asked the Senate leaders to exclude career civil servants, particularly non-supervisory employees, from the public, searchable database. As this bill advances, the Union will continue to press to ensure that your privacy is protected.