Bill toughening financial disclosure for federal judges heads to Biden’s desk

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The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill Thursday that would toughen financial disclosure requirements for federal judges and make the reports available in a searchable database available to the public.

The measure, the Courthouse Ethics Transparency Act, heads to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature, report Law.com, Courthouse News Service, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal. The U.S. Senate had passed the bill in February.

The bill requires federal judges to report stock trades of more than $1,000 within 45 days. That puts judges on a similar footing as lawmakers, according to Reuters. U.S. Supreme Court justices would have to abide by the requirements, along with federal appellate, district court, bankruptcy and magistrate judges.

Currently, judges have to file annual financial disclosure reports. But requests for that information are sent to judges who decide whether redactions are needed. That can create long delays in providing the information.

A White House spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that he hadn’t discussed the bill with Biden. But the president “has always been full-throated about furthering ethics and transparency in government and restoring trust in institutions, and this kind of policy is aligned with those goals,” the spokesman said.

The bill follows an investigation by the Wall Street Journal that found that 131 federal judges oversaw 685 court cases in the last decade involving companies in which they or their families owned stock.

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