President signs law delaying STOCK Act expansion

Thursday - 8/16/2012, 9:16pm EDT

By Amanda Iacone
Federal News Radio

President Barack Obama has signed a law delaying an expansion of the STOCK Act that would have published the financial records of thousands of top managers throughout the executive and legislative branches in an online, searchable database.

Congress sent the measure to the President earlier this month following on the heels of a lawsuit federal employees filed to block the expansion.

However the law only delays the digital publication of the records by one month — until Sept. 30. The law also specifies that periodic transaction reports of House members and employees must also include the transactions of their spouses and dependent children, according to a White House statement.

The STOCK Act initially applied to just members of Congress and their staffs, but a round of revisions adopted earlier this year extended those requirements to to 28,000 senior members of the executive branch, including military officers.

Providing the information online would make the financial records much easier for the public to obtain and scrutinize and is intended to prevent conflicts of interest. But federal employee groups argue that easy access also puts them at greater risk for identity theft and they consider it an invasion of privacy.

Citing those concerns, the Senior Executives Association along with the American Civil Liberties Union sued this month to stop the expansion and Congress quickly acted to provide the delay.

President Obama signed the law allowing the expansion of the STOCK Act's public disclosure requirements in April.

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