Media Contacts:Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, Government Affairs Manager at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), [email protected]; or Caitlin MacNeal, Communications Director at POGO, [email protected]
(WASHINGTON)—The House on Wednesday passed the Courthouse Ethics and Transparency Act, which will make it easier to hold federal judges accountable for financial conflicts of interest.
Reporting late last year revealed that more than 130 federal judges failed to recuse themselves from cases in which they or a family member had a financial interest. As we told members of the House Committee on the Judiciary when we testified before the subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet last fall, this report made clear that we need new laws on the books to reduce conflicts of interest in the judiciary system and to restore public confidence in the courts.
The Courthouse Ethics and Transparency Act will make federal judges’ financial disclosure reports available on a centralized, public website, making it easier for journalists and watchdogs to catch conflicts. The bill will also require judges to submit periodic transaction reports when they make stock trades over $1,000, bringing the judiciary in line with rules that already apply to Congress.
“This bill will bring much needed transparency to the federal court system. The courts' legitimacy relies on the sense that judges are held to a high ethical standard and that they are acting without bias. These reforms will help assure the public that judges are indeed acting as neutral arbiters,” said Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, government affairs manager at the Project On Government Oversight. “We applaud Congress for passing this crucial legislation.”