Financial Disclosure:

Implementation of Statute Governing House and Legislative Agency Personnel

GGD-94-76: Published: Mar 16, 1994. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 1994.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the House of Representatives' progress in implementing the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.

GAO found that: (1) the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct has modified and improved its financial disclosure report system since the act's passage; (2) the Committee has used state election offices to identify candidates who must file financial disclosure reports, reviewed the reports within the required time frame, notified filers when reports are incomplete, corrected erroneous reports, and assessed late filing fees; (3) the Committee has not had reviewers sign certification statements, as the act requires; and (4) unlike the Senate and the executive branch, the House does not supplement reviews of financial disclosure reports by allowing someone in the filer's supervisory chain to review the reports to identify potential conflicts of interest.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Committee now stamps all financial disclosure reports with a format that provides a box for the reviewing official's signature and provides positive statement of assurance that the report complies with the appropriate laws and regulations.

    Matter: The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct should revise the Committee's procedures and disclosure report form to comply with statutory provisions requiring final reviewing officials to sign the reports and provide a positive assurance opinion.

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Chief Counsel for the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct said the Committee does not plan to implement the recommendation. The Counsel does not believe it is necessary to require an official in a House or legislative employee's chain of command to review the financial disclosure report. The Counsel believes the current procedures with the Committee staff reviewing all the reports are adequate.

    Matter: The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct may wish to consider ways in which financial disclosure reports could be used more extensively. For example, the Committee could consider supplementing its review of legislative employee statements by providing for a review by someone in the filer's supervisory chain.


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