Financial Disclosure:

Implementation of Statute Governing Judicial Branch Personnel

GGD-93-85: Published: Apr 27, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 27, 1993.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO studied the implementation of the statutory provisions governing financial disclosure by judicial branch personnel.

GAO found that: (1) the Judicial Conference Committee on Financial Disclosure's procedures are insufficient to ensure that all persons required to file public financial disclosure reports in 1991 are identified and timely notified and filed required reports covering the proper period; (2) the Committee did not sufficiently provide for timely reviews of 1991 reports; (3) the Committee did not consider any desirable alternatives to its current review approach; (4) the Committee's procedures did not sufficiently provide for the final reviewing official to give a positive assurance opinion of the filer's compliance with applicable laws and regulations and sign the report; and (5) major differences in the judicial and executive branches' administrative procedures included processing of presidential nominee financial disclosure reports, requiring certifications of internal government reviewers and public filers on the reporting form, performing reviews of the reports for compliance with applicable laws and regulations, treating report corrections, requiring confidential financial disclosure, and issuing regulations on late filing fees.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: This recommendation was based on GAO's examination of the Committee's processing of financial disclosure reports filed in calendar year 1991. In April 1993 the Committee provided GAO information on steps taken and planned to improve its operating procedures to ensure that all persons required to file are identified and notified and that they file a report covering the correct time period.

    Recommendation: To improve the Committee's compliance with and implementation of the statutory financial disclosure requirements governing judicial personnel, the Chairman of the Judicial Conference Committee on Financial Disclosure should place greater emphasis on ensuring that all persons who are required to file a report are identified and timely notified and file reports covering the proper period.

    Agency Affected: Judicial Conference of the United States: Committee on Financial Disclosure

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: This recommendation was based on GAO's examination of the Committee's processing of financial disclosure reports filed in calendar year 1991. Information the Committee provided GAO in April 1993 indicates that great progress has been made in completing disclosure report review and certification within 60 days when no additional information is requested of filers. For example, performance data generated from a new tracking system shows that while only about 15 percent of all 1992 reports with no letter of inquiry were reviewed and certified within 60 days, the corresponding performance statistic for 1993 reports was over 95 percent. The average processing time of reports that require no further information was reduced from 121 days to 22 days. At the time of GAO's review of 1991 reports, the Committee did not have a system capable of producing this type of performance data.

    Recommendation: To improve the Committee's compliance with and implementation of the statutory financial disclosure requirements governing judicial personnel, the Chairman of the Judicial Conference Committee on Financial Disclosure should further consider ways to complete disclosure report review and certification within 60 days when no additional information is requested of filers.

    Agency Affected: Judicial Conference of the United States: Committee on Financial Disclosure

 

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