June 16th, 2011
FOI Tip of the Week: (Some) congressional financial disclosures available
By Morgan Watkins
Financial information on congressional representatives can spark stories on potential conflicts of interest a Senate or House member may have between his or her congressional duties and financial livelihood.
For example, an investigation by watchdog organization Open Secrets using the disclosure information showed many members of Congress have investments in news and media companies. (The article quotes SPJ Ethics Committee Chairman Kevin Smith.)
Not all members of Congress released their financial information, though. Seventy-six House lawmakers requested extra time to file their disclosure forms, which they will probably release later this summer.
The financial information lawmakers must release includes real estate investments, stock holdings, ownership interests in private companies and other data.
Twenty Senate members also requested extensions, according to Open Secrets.
– Morgan Watkins
Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).