Holding Government Leaders Accountable
June 27, 2018
In the wake of the Watergate scandal, Congress sought to rebuild the public’s trust in government. To help build that trust, Congress gave citizens better insight into the working of their government including access to the financial disclosure reports of the most senior government officials. These reports allow citizens to ensure that their government officials are free from financial conflicts of interest.
Even before a person enters a government position requiring confirmation by the Senate, he or she completes a public financial disclosure report and enters into an ethics agreement detailing the steps he or she will take to avoid potential ethics concerns. This agreement might require an official to sell assets, resign from positions, or stay out of government matters that might pose a conflict of interest. You can see these documents here.
During government service, these senior officials have ongoing disclosure obligations. First, they file certifications of compliance with their ethics agreements, which you can see here. They also have ongoing obligations to file reports when they buy or sell securities (periodic transaction reports), and to file complete financial disclosure reports annually on May 15. You can also see these documents on OGE’s website.
Within 30 days of leaving government service, these senior officials must also file termination financial disclosure reports. You can see these reports too.
These reports allow citizens to ensure their government officials are free of conflicts of interest from the time they enter service until the day they leave. We invite you to look around, review the reports, and help hold your government accountable.