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FTC Pens Letter to ABA President on Judicial Financial Disclosures

1/5/22 update: ABA President Turner responded, saying he “appreciate[s] hearing your views on this topic and understand[s] that [an ABA government relations staff member] provided you with the status of this issue within the ABA,” which is that the ABA “does not have policy on which to base support for this bill, and without it, even the President cannot speak out.”

By Tyler Cooper, FTC senior researcher

Fix the Court sent a letter to American Bar Association President Reginald Turner today asking his organization to join the fight for stronger judicial financial disclosure laws at the federal and state levels.

This comes on the heels of a flurry of interest in updating the judicial financial disclosure system after reporting by the Wall Street Journal showed federal judges across the country fail to abide by recusal laws related to financial conflicts.

On Capitol Hill a bill was introduced to require the federal judiciary to post online the annual financial disclosure reports of judges and also contemporaneous accounts of judges’ securities transactions. The bill passed the House, 422-4, on Dec. 2.

FTC research has already found that judicial disclosure laws are often more lax at the state level and public access even more limited.

The ABA has a long and proud tradition of leading on matters of legal and judicial ethics, and FTC hopes they will continue to do so at this important juncture.

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