Financial Disclosure for High-Level Executive Officials:

The Current System and the New Commitment

FPCD-77-59: Published: Aug 1, 1977. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 1977.

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Since January 1977, there has been a new commitment to ethics in both the Congress and the executive branch of the Government. The new administration has made financial disclosure and ethics a high priority, with the President requiring his appointees to publicly disclose their financial interests. The President has proposed legislation to the Congress that would expand safeguards against actual or potential conflicts of interest on the part of executive branch officials, create a new program of public disclosure, create an Office of Government Ethics, and strengthen and broaden the post-Government employment restrictions.

Problems exist in the present financial disclosure system because: the Civil Service Commission (CSC) did not design and operate the system effectively; the system lacked enforcement authority from the President; the Commission was not involved in the review and investigation process of appointees by the White House and Senate confirmation committees; the system was managed with limited support and insufficient resources; additional financial information was needed from appointees because of their particular duties and responsibilities; and policies and criteria for blind trusts had not been formalized and enforced. Current legislation before the Congress would remedy many of the system's deficiencies. If the legislation is not enacted, there are many actions which the President and CSC should take to strengthen and improve the current system. (Author/SC)

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