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Financial Disclosure Tidbits

Originally posted on Nov. 1, 2021

All federal judges and justices are required to file annual financial disclosure reports. That’s well known.

1. But did you know that judges are able to obtain up to a $1,370 reimbursement “for the preparation of financial disclosure reports” — i.e., a reimbursement for fees they’d pay to a CPA, financial adviser or law firm for assistance in filling out their FDRs (see pp. 21-22)?

2. Did you know that one of the preparers advises judges what types of information they might want redacted from their reports, and that this advice is overly broad, to the point where, if heeded by those in charge of redactions, the disclosures would lose a significant portion of their accountability purpose?

Read the redacting advice from 2019 here.

3. Did you know that the judiciary sends judges very detailed instructions for how to fill out their disclosures each year, and these instructions, it would seem, would make it very difficult for, say, 131 judges — assuming they read them — to “forget” about financial conflicts in 685 cases from 2010 to 2018, as the Wall Street Journal reported in Sept. 2021?

Read the 2010 instructions (for the 2009 disclosures) here.

Read the 2021 instructions (for the 2020 disclosures) here.

Read the 2022 instructions (for the 2021 disclosures) here.

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