STOCK Act deterring feds from becoming senior execs, SEA says

Monday - 8/6/2012, 9:49am EDT

Carol Bonosaro, President, Senior Executives Association

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Congress has delayed for a month the online financial disclosure requirement of the STOCK Act — short for the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act. But, according to the Senior Executives Association, already the provision is deterring high-level feds from joining the Senior Executive Service.

"There are already talented [GS]-15's who have emailed me and said, 'You know, I've been working a long time to become a senior executive, but this is the final nail in the coffin and I'm not interested now,'" said Carol Bonosaro, president of SEA, in an interview with The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp.

Bonosaro added that the disclosure requirement of the insider-trading law is also convincing SES members to voluntarily drop back to GS-15 positions.

Those covered under the act include members of Congress and their staffs, senior military officers at or above grade O-7, political appointees and senior executives. There are approximately 28,000 senior executive branch employees alone who are required to file the Financial Disclosure Form. These include feds with pay above the GS-15 level and, for positions outside of the General Schedule, those whose base pay is 20 percent more than the base pay of a GS-15.

All are required to file reports of new transactions in stocks, bonds, commodities or other securities that exceed $1,000.

SEA has joined the American Civil Liberties Union and other federal groups in a lawsuit that challenges the financial disclosure provision of the law.

The lawsuit shortly followed Congress' approval of the 30-day delay to parts of the legislation. President Obama had signed the bill into law in April, and the financial disclosure forms were supposed to be posted by Aug. 31.

Bonosaro said she worries a month is not enough time for a strong legislative solution.

"We really don't know what's going to happen," she said. "In the end, legal action may still be necessary. Obviously, we hope not, but it may well be."

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