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Statement on the Appointment of a New Financial Disclosure Committee Chair

Fix the Court’s Gabe Roth released this statement:

“Today’s announcement that Chief Justice Roberts has appointed a new chair for the judiciary’s Committee on Financial Disclosure is good news, as there’s no way for Judge Phillips to lead the Committee in a less productive, less transparent way than her predecessor.

“Under Judge Bunning’s watch, the Committee failed to act on well-founded complaints about Justice Thomas omitting countless free trips and gifts from his annual disclosures, which, as was made clearer today, do not count as personal hospitality, meaning the omissions are violations of federal law.

“The Committee has apparently produced no report responding to the complaints and has not worked with the Conference to refer them to the attorney general, as is required by the Ethics in Government Act (5 U.S.C. §13106(b)) whenever there’s ‘reasonable cause’ to believe an official has ‘willfully failed to file information required to be reported.’

“What’s more, during Bunning’s tenure thousands of financial disclosures that lower-court judges filed on time were not posted in the online database. That’s another violation.

“I get that the judiciary wants to protect its own, but you’d think even more than that, judges would seek to abide by the requirements of federal law.”

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