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Investigating Congress

Investigating Congress

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Published by Lachlan Markay
A primer from the Center for Responsive Politics on investigating the personal finances of members of Congress.
A primer from the Center for Responsive Politics on investigating the personal finances of members of Congress.

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Published by: Lachlan Markay on Apr 22, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/22/2012

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:s:
About
.theReporting
Requirements
MembersofCongress,candidatesforfederaloffice,seniorcongressionalstaff,nomineesfor.executivebranchpositions,Cab;netmembers,thepresidentandvicepresidentandSupremeCourtjusticesarerequiredby.theEthicsinGovernmentActof1978tofileannualreportsdisclosingtheirpersonalfinances.Complianceandenforcementofthisrequirementisoverseenbythecongressionalethicscommittees,theethicsofficesofgovernmentagenciesand,inthe.caseofexecutivebranchofficials,theU,S.OfficeofGovernmentEthics.Theseformsrecordearnedandunearnedincome,assetsandrelatedtransactions,liabilitie.s,contributionsmadeinlieuofhonoraria,giftsreceived,non-governmentalpositionshElld,travelthatwaspaidlororforwhlchtheJilerwasreimbursed,andvariousa.greementsintoWhichthefilerhasentered.Informationrelatingtothespouseanddependentchildrenofthefilerisalsoreportedinmanycases.Thefollowingoutlinesthemajortypesofinformationthat.mustbereportedonpersonalfinancialdisclosures:
INCOME
Sourcesandamountsofoutside,ElarnedincomeElxceeding$200mustbe.reported.Theofficials'.governmentsalariesarenottypicallyreportedontheirdisclosures,buttheyarepublicrecord.Thesource,butnottheamount,ofaspouse'sincomeover$1,000mustalsobereported.Electedofficials.andseniofl)taffarelimitedinlheamountofoutpide.incometheymayearnwhileserving.($24,315in2005)Exceptionsaremadeforincomethatispreviouslyapprovedandfor.certainbookroyaltiesandadvaOces.
HONORARIA
Electedofficialsandseniorstaffareprohibitedfromreceivinghonorariaforspeeches,'~~~c~~:do;oag~:r~~~Flces.However,inlieuofhonoraria,theymayallowtheamounttobe
Q•.
,Onlythesourceandamountofthesehonorariaarereportedtothegeneralpublichere.Theorganizationreceivingpaymentisreportedconfidentiallytothecongressionalethicscommittees.
ASSETS
Assetsheldforinvestmentortheproductionofincomethatwereworthmorethan$1,000attheendofthecalendaryear,mustberep()rtedinthissectionofthereport.Thisincludessecurities,realestate(excludingthefiler'sprimaryresi.dence,unless
it
generatesincome),ownershipofabusiness,.bankaGcountsand.Joansowedtothefiler.Assetsheldwithinanyself-directedaccountorfundshculdbetlstedindividually..Filersarenotrequiredtoprovide.cletailontheindividualholdingsof,forexample,mutualfunds.
(J.
Thevalueoftheseassets.andthetypeandamountofincometheyproducedarelisted.Assetsthatproducedmorethan$200ofincomeduringtheyearshouldbelistedregardlessoftheirvalueatthecloseoftheyear.
,..~
Centerfor~ResponsivePolitics
OpenSecrets.org
p.
2
 
TRANSACTIONS
..Purchases,sales.andexchangesofassetsthatamounttomorethan$1,000inthecalendaryeararereportedalongwiththedateandtheamounttransacted.
LIABILITIES
.,Anyliabilityorloanwherethefiler,theirspouseortheirdependentchildrenowedmorethan$10,000atanytimeduringthecalendaryearmustbereported..Li~bilitylistingsdisclosethecreditor,thetypeofHabilitY~lldthegreatestamountowedduringthereportingperiod.
&.
Excludedareloanssecuredbypersonalpropertythatdoesnotproduceincome,suchasmortgagesonthefiler'sprincipalresidenceorautomobile.
POSITIONS
Filersmustdisclosepositionstheyholdwithnon-governmentalorg~nizations,excludingreligious,social,fraternalorpoliticalorganizations.PositionsofapurelyhonorarynatureandthoseheldbySpousesanddependentchildrenarealsoexcluded.
AGREEMENTS
Filersmustdisclose~greelTl~ntswith.formeremployersdescribing,forinstance,conditionsforre-employment,severancepayments,buyoutagreementsorprofit-sharingplans.Bookdealsarefrequentlylistedhere.
TRAVEL
Travelandtravel-relatedreimbursementsfromasinglesource,valuedatmorethan$305inaggregatefortheyearandconnectedtoofficialbusiness,arereportedwithinformationonthesource,dates,purposeofthetravelanditinerary.Therequirementtofiletravelinformationhereisinadditiontomorespecifictraveldisclosureavailablehere.onOpenSecrets.org.
GIFTS
Somegiftsareacceptable:thosefrompersonalacquaintances,contributionstolegaldefensefundsandcommemorativeitems.Thesource,valueandadescriptionofgiftsthatexceed$305fromasinglesource,otherthanarelative,arelistedinthissection.Giftsworth$122or.lessneednotbecountedtowardthe$305threshold.SOURCE:CenterforResponsivePolitics,April2008
Center
for"~
ResponsivePolitics
Open$ecrets.org
p.
3

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