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Stock Ownership Disclosure Database for Judges Now Law

May 13, 2022, 8:04 PM

Bipartisan legislation requiring greater transparency of federal judges financial disclosures became law Friday.

The Courthouse Ethics and Transparency Act (S. 3059) signed by President Joe Biden requires the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to create a searchable database of judicial financial disclosures and make them available online within 90 days of their filing. Securities transactions over $1,000 also must be posted within 45 days of their filing.

The new law comes as lawmakers propose several measures, including code-of-conduct requirements for the Supreme Court, intended to increase transparency and address perceived political influence on the high court.

The stock legislation moved quickly through Congress after a Wall Street Journal report last year that 131 federal judges heard cases in involving a company in which they or a family member held shares.

While the public could review financial disclosures of federal judges before the new law, they were not easily or quickly accessible. Passage was is rare move from the legislature to force change on the judiciary.

Provisions in the law apply disclosure requirements similar to those for members of Congress and certain executive branch officials under a 2012 law known as the STOCK Act.

The new law also covers magistrate and bankruptcy judges, and gave the judiciary the ability to extend the time it needs to create a database if it misses the 180 day deadline to do so.

To contact the reporter on this story: Madison Alder in Washington at malder@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com; John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com

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