On February 18, 2022, the US Senate unanimously passed the Courthouse Ethics and Transparency Act, which requires all US federal judges to publish their financial disclosure reports to the public. This legislation closely follows the bipartisan bill passed by the House in December 2021, which sought a similar outcome (see our related post). The bill amends Section 105 of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, specifically requiring:
- the creation of a “searchable internet database” for public access to reports filed by judicial officers, bankruptcy judges, and magistrate judges no later than 180 days after the Act is enacted (where a written notification for an extension of this timeframe may be sent in writing to Congress);
- reports to be available within a window that does not exceed 90 days after filing; and
- reports on the searchable database to be completely clean of redactions.
The current process is not as thorough; it could take as long as one year to get a look at federal judges’ annual reports that list their stock trades.
Next, the bipartisan Senate bill goes on to the House. It is worth noting again that the earlier bipartisan bill passed by the House last year was comparable to the current Senate bill they must now review.