Over 30,000 White House financial disclosures to be made public in first for transparency and accountability
Three leading non-partisan anti-corruption nonprofits are preparing to publish over 30,000 financial disclosures and other ethics documents related to White House political appointees from the Biden, Trump and Obama administrations. The records, collected by Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and Anti-Corruption Data Collective (ACDC), are normally available only individually and upon specific request. POGO and ACDC have partnered with OpenSecrets to make the documents freely available on the internet.
The project represents an unprecedented injection of transparency at the highest levels of government, the three organizations said. Executive branch financial disclosures are collected by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) and ethics officials at each government agency, but no comprehensive public database for accessing and analyzing records currently exists. This joint project will enable researchers to more efficiently identify the conflicts of interests at play in the US executive branch.
David Szakonyi, co-founder of Anti-Corruption Data Collective said: “Whereas journalists have already done great work finding potential conflicts of interest in individual officials’ disclosures, there is a lot more that these data can reveal. Having these records available in bulk will allow the media, civil society, academia and other investigators to build a much clearer picture of the financial interests of political appointees at the very top of our government.”
Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, Senior Government Affairs Manager at the Project on Government Oversight, said: “Transparency when it comes to financial disclosures for White House political appointees has been woefully poor. The public should be able to easily access these disclosures in order to be confident that executive branch officials are operating without conflicts of interest, and the government has failed to make that possible. This database will make it much easier to hold the White House accountable.”
Sheila Krumholz, Executive Director of OpenSecrets, said: “This unparalleled database of financial disclosures, waivers, and ethics documents will make crucial information about political appointees publicly accessible — empowering journalists, civil society and other investigators to identify potential conflicts of interest at the highest levels of government. We are delighted to partner with POGO and ACDC to bring these critical records to light.”
The data set includes financial disclosures submitted by political appointees when they enter government, annual and transaction reports during their time in office, and termination reports upon their exit from their government positions. Forms contain information on equities held, sold and purchased, liabilities, outside income, and other assets belonging to the appointee and their spouse. The collection also includes ethics waivers granted to political appointees, allowing them to continue overseeing companies and sectors in which they may have a personal financial interest. The documents date from 2015 through 2022. OGE deletes the forms from its own database after six years.
Notes to editors
The types of financial disclosure and ethics data included in the database have been used in reporting including the Wall Street Journal’s Capital Assets series in 2022. To discuss potential applications of the data in investigations and other reporting, please contact ACDC.
Anti-Corruption Data Collective brings together leading investigative journalists, programmers, data scientists, academics and policy experts to expose and undermine corruption.
Contact: Michael Hornsby, Communications Manager Michael@acdatacolletive.org
Project on Government Oversight investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when the government fails to serve the public or silences those who report wrongdoing, champions reforms to achieve a more effective, ethical, and accountable federal government that safeguards constitutional principles.
Contact: Caitlin MacNeal, Communications Director Caitlin.MacNeal@pogo.org
OpenSecrets is the nation’s premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Its mission is to track the flow of money in American politics and provide the data and analysis to strengthen democracy.
Contact: Anna Massoglia, Editorial & Investigations Manager firstname.lastname@example.org