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Disclosure Reduction?

As a House-Senate conference committee was ironing out differences in the 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act last week, a trio of reform groups urged that Congressional leaders cut a “counterproductive, extraneous” provision in the House version of the bill that critics say would weaken financial disclosure requirement for intelligence officials. [IMGCAP(1)]

The measure in question would repeal the current requirement that senior national security officials and appointees report personal assets valued at more than $2.5 million. The provisions would also eliminate the requirement that such employees report the dates of major stock transactions.

“The 9/11 Commission did not recommend weakening the ethics disclosure requirements as part of the critical effort to improve the nation’s troubled intelligence apparatus,” the heads of Public Citizen, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 argued in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).

The letter continued, “These ill-considered provisions will only service to further undermine public confidence in the intelligence community at a critical moment.”

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and other lawmakers have warned that such a move may be part of a broader effort by certain Members to gut financial disclosure requirements for all government employees, including Members of Congress.

— Amy Keller

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