Zimmerberg has reason to be angry. Years ago he was the victim of identity fraud, a problem that has been hard to shake.
“It’s like something that wouldn’t go away,” he said.
The law would require individual and family financial information to be available for everyone to see. While Uncle Sam has a legitimate interest in making sure his staffers don’t have conflicts of interest, current procedures allow for that. The financial information is already available for public view but only upon request.
The Internet posting requirement is a big difference.
Since the bill passed, “we’ve heard from a number of senior executives who were considering leaving the service, and we are aware of a number who actually did so” to avoid the online posting, SEA President Carol Bonosaro said Tuesday at a conference sponsored by the association’s Professional Development League.
SEA identified 11 unintended consequences of the law, “most of which we think would have a serious impact on government operations,” Bonosaro said. Those consequences include:
●“Federal executives will become prime targets for identity thieves.”
●“Federal employees posted overseas . . . may have their finances scrutinized by foreign interests, including terrorists.”
●“The online posting requirement could easily jeopardize the cover of U.S. intelligence personnel posted at U.S. embassies.”
●“Implementation of the Stock Act is also likely to make it significantly harder to attract capable political appointees to the current administration, as well as future administrations.”
For reasons such as these and those cited in the letter from the former national security officials, the judge said the “plaintiffs have shown that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm” because of the posting provision.
If the government publishes that information online, Williams added, it’s like “a bell that one cannot unring.”
Previous columns by Joe Davidson are available at wapo.st/JoeDavidson.