Washington, D.C. – In an effort to ensure transparency from the executive branch, U.S. Representative Madeleine Dean (D-PA-04) and U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) are introducing The Know Conflicts Act, a piece of common-sense legislation to increase transparency regarding financial conflicts of interest in federal spending.
“Public service is a sacred trust, and conflicts of interest jeopardize that trust. That is unacceptable – and it’s why this legislation is so important,” said Rep. Dean. “The public deserve to know that their tax dollars are being used responsibly, ethically, and without conflict.”
“If we’ve said it once, we have said it a million times: the American people have the right to know if their highest elected leaders have financial ties that could affect decision-marking from the Situation Room to the Federal Reserve,” said Senator Casey.
“The public has a right to know and understand when personal investments and financial matters could be influencing how taxpayer dollars are spent. This commonsense legislative measure to require full disclosure for entities receiving federal funding should be a no-brainer. Public Citizen applauds Representative Dean for taking this important step,” Lisa Gilbert, VP of Legislative Affairs, Public Citizen.
"The Know Conflicts Act would provide important information to help prevent federal funds from leading to serious conflicts of interest, and possibly even constitutional violations,” said Noah Bookbinder, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). “This kind of prevention is especially important since current federal law exempts the President and Vice President from some ethics and conflicts laws that apply to other executive branch employees. We hope that Congress will recognize the value of this kind of transparency, as it did when a strong bipartisan coalition passed the law that created usaspending.gov more than a decade ago."
More on the Know Conflicts Act:
President Trump holds global financial interests of vast scale and complexity, but he has refused to follow the recommendations of bipartisan ethics experts to avoid conflicts of interest that could affect his decision-making on behalf of the American people. This bill will provide a clearinghouse for information about financial conflicts of interest faced by the President and provide a measure of accountability so Americans know their tax dollars are being spent solely in their interest.
Specifically, the legislation would:
· Update the Federal Funding and Accountability Act to require that USASpending.gov, a searchable public website with information on federal awards and assistance, include in any search information as to whether a federal award creates an active conflict of interest for the President or Vice President based on their financial disclosure reports.
· Direct the Department of Treasury to submit an annual report to Congress with a comprehensive accounting of all new and ongoing financial conflicts of interest.
Matt Bieber (Dean)
Andres Anzola (Casey)