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Moran Says Bill May Reduce Spy Recruitment

by ARLnow.com — September 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm 2,254 23 Comments

Foreign intelligence agencies often recruit spies and double agents within the American government by targeting federal employees in financial distress. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) says the passage of a bill in the House of Representatives today will prevent those intelligence agencies from finding financially-troubled feds with only a few clicks of the mouse.

Moran applauded the passage of bill S. 3625, which will delay certain provisions of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act from taking effect. The provisions would have required automatic online posting of the financial disclosure forms of 28,000 senior federal employees (GS-15 and SES level). The forms could reveal information about employees’ stock portfolio, real estate investments, and retirement funds.

In an Op-Ed in the Federal Times, Moran wrote:

Under the proposed online system our enemies around the world might be able to search thousands of records with a single keystroke — anonymously exploiting an easily accessible database to search for subtle differences in financial disclosures.

If analyzed closely, these differences might betray the identity of members of the intelligence community, while simultaneously providing information to our enemies as to which employees might be struggling financially — a known criteria used by foreign intelligence services to target individuals for espionage.

The bill, which will now head to the president’s desk following today’s voice vote in the House, will delay the online reporting provisions for senior federal employees from taking effect until Dec. 8. It also requires a study of “issues raised by website publication of financial disclosure forms” by the National Academy of Public Administration.

Earlier this month, a federal judge blocked enforcement of the STOCK Act until Oct. 31, after the American Civil Liberties Union argued that posting employees’ financial information is a violation of their privacy.

The full press release from Rep. Moran’s office, after the jump.

Photo courtesy Andrew Clegg

Washington, DC — Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, today applauded House passage of S. 3625 to delay provisions of the STOCK Act that require automatic online publication of the financial disclosures of over 28,000 senior federal employees. The bill, crafted with the help of Rep. Moran, passed by unanimous consent during a pro forma session and now heads to the President’s desk.

“Through today’s action, over 28,000 of our senior federal workers’ personal financial information will be protected,” said Rep. Moran. “I am confident that the National Academy study will show that this policy is unnecessary and potentially very harmful. Congress now has the time necessary to move forward with a permanent fix to safeguard our federal employees’ personal information.”

The legislation would delay until December 8th Sections 8 and 11 of the STOCK Act which require the automatic online posting of senior federal employees’ (GS-15 and SES workers) financial disclosure forms. The bill also requires a six month study by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) on the harmful impacts of the reporting requirements. The delayed reporting requirement does not extend to the President, Vice President, Cabinet officials, Members of Congress or candidates for office.

Currently, senior civil servants already file annual financial disclosure forms, which are available to the public upon written request. The information is disclosed only to individuals who register and identify themselves, and the data is only available in small increments in a deliberate process that allows for public review.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, signed into law in April, was designed to increase the financial transparency of Congress, requiring Members of Congress to report certain transactions, limiting participation in Initial Public Offerings and eliminating pensions for lawmakers who commit one of several crimes while in office.

Congressman Jim Moran was a cosponsor of the STOCK Act and is a leading advocate for federal employees. Virginia’s 8th District is home to more than 65,000 federal workers and where more than 110,000 show up to work each day.

  • bman

    So what is moran hiding in his stock transactions?

    • malaka

      I don’t think he is a GS15 or SES Employee

    • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

      This bill will delay a provision pertaining to senior federal employees, not to lawmakers.

  • Mayor Quimby

    Moran a co-sponsor of the STOCK act? Jesus. Like a habitual drunk driver telling us we shouldn’t get DUIs.

    • Observer

      Do as I say, not as I do.

  • Buckingham Bandit

    The point is moot, at least in the IC, because financial records are already investigated when you receive/renew your clearance. If you are financial distress, you are shown the door faster than you can say Aldrich Ames.

    • CrystalMikey

      This.

      • Ballston

        Even with reinvestigations, those only happen every 5-10 years, leaving plenty of time for people’s finances to go downhill.

  • Peter

    Yes, let’s exempt the senior staffs of the Joint Economic Committee, Senate Banking Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, House Appropriations Committee, etc., who might be especially vulnerable to being recruited by foreign intelligence agencies based on the tax-borrow-spend agenda of the Members the senior staffers serve..

    • drax

      To do what though? Earmark something for Al Queda?

  • Trolly Troll

    All of Moran’s points are valid, oh wait, I thought he was talking about facebook.

  • novasteve

    Vote for name with (D) after it.

  • KalashniKEV

    Covering up for his cronies, no doubt.

    It’s a race to see who will see the inside of a jail cell quicker, Moran or a-member-of-the-county-board…

    • malaka

      none of whom are covered by this

    • DCBuff

      What cronies? This applies to career civil servants. Men and women who live in all 50 states, WDC and so on. People whose careers are invested in the government. And, to be very clear, people whose assets are reviewed every single year by ethics attorneys (I know, funny), not just reviewed every 5 or 10 years for a security re-up. Whatever Moran’s issues might be, just ask yourself this: do you want me (you don’t know me) knowing everything about your personal financial situation? I sure as heck don’t have a need to know.

      • KalashniKEV

        They’re all in the same dirty game.

        • Ballston

          Yes curse all civil servants they’re all awful and corrupt! No government! No laws!

          Seriously, this isn’t a political issue at all. Just because something says Jim Moran doesn’t mean all the loonies have to come out of the woodwork and categorically denounce it. We all get that you guys don’t like him. In this instance he did a good job of sticking up for his worried constituents on an issue that disproportionally will affect Northern Virginians.

    • drax

      My money is on you first.

  • Arl for Now

    http://Www.legistorm.com already publishes financial disclosure reports of senior Hill staff and Members of Congress.

  • George

    I’d like to know exactly how much money Moran made from the Marck Center relocation and BRAC fiasco. Why does he keep getting reelected? Oh wait – he gives them ObamaPhones.

  • the answer

    One of the few times I agree with Moran. As most have s said most senior agency and SES have to report findings once a year. If you want, you can FIOA anyone at that level and see their info. STOCK act put all this info out their publicly on the internet. But, the other big issue is that ant transaction had to be reported within 30 days and additional burdens on effected federal employee’s spouses finances.

    The origins of ses and high level employees were added at the last see bond right prior to the visiting on the bill and had nothing to do with the 60 minutes report that gave the push to the act.

    • http://www.bscl.org Mike

      Have you ever seen a .gov press release on an award given to some entity or group to do something and then wondered to yourself ‘gee, how did they get souch a plum deal?” Well, unfortunately, some people -whose choice on a contract award here or there comes down to a c’oin flip’- do wrong and look for kick-backs. Simple things, a contracting job for their son, wife or mistress -or worse, a direct kickbacks in form of trade info.

      I personally want to limit that tempatation by some of those folks.

      I’m a big fan of psyops -I say put everything in there (on EVERYBODY in the .gov) and then populate the site, where necessary, with dummy info on those critical assets we need to protect.

      Don’t act like it isn’t already being done.

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