Congress quietly repeals financial transparency rules for government officials

The bill amends the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which was passed last year on the heels of complaints that members of Congress and senior officials are using their government knowledge to enrich themselves through stock trades or other actions.

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Among other things, the STOCK Act required roughly 28,000 senior officials to post their financial details online. But that requirement was immediately criticized by these officials, some of whom said it could pose a national security risk.

Congress twice delayed the reporting requirement, and the last delay was due to expire on Monday, April 15. That delay called for a study of the issue by the National Academy of Public Administration to study the requirement further.

On April 1, that group recommended ending the requirement for senior officials.

The bill approved by the Senate on Thursday and by the House today would permanently end this requirement, by saying the reporting requirement for senior government officials "shall not be effective." The reporting requirements would still apply to the president, vice president, members of Congress and candidates for Congress.

House passage of the bill sends it to President Obama for his signature into law.