The new financial disclosure law covering 14,000 top federal employes is tough and far-reaching. But it originally was even tougher and more far-reaching.
Under the new ethics code, all employes in grades 16 ($44,756) and above will have to make annual, detailed statements about outside income, stocks and bonds, major debts and significant ($250 or more) gifts from nonrelatives. Abour 9,200 career and political executive will be covered by the new law, as well as several thousand congressional aides. The majority of those covered live and work in the Washington area.
The original disclosure plan would have dipped much further down the federal pay and grade totem pole, covering as many as 250,000 civil servants. At one point the White House even watned detailed annual listings of birthday gifts given to the children of federal workers by federal workers by nonrelatives. That plan - which reached the draft legislation stage - was finally vetoed by nonzealots who said it was just too silly for words.
Under the new law, top Capitol Hill staffer are supposed to file the statements too and they will be available to the press and public. Thst has already caused unhappiness among staffers who don't think their noncongressional business is anyone else's business.