New judiciary ethics rules close ‘loopholes’ to require more disclosure of private travel costs
, 2023-03-29 16:54:00
After pressure from members of Congress, the federal judiciary revised its financial disclosure rules to require that federal judges – including Supreme Court justices – to be more specific when disclosing non-business travel.
Under the Ethics in Government Act, judges are required to report information related to gifts of more than minimal value that are received from any source other than a relative. But the law provides an exemption for “food, lodging, or entertainment received as personal hospitality.”
The new regulations now require that judges disclose non-business stays at resorts, the use of private jets and instances when a third party reimburses a host for costs associated with a visit.
“The Judicial Conference’s amendment closes a large loophole that allowed individuals and companies with interests before the courts secretly to shower judges, including the Justices, with lavish gifts, including five-star travel,” said Stephen Gillers of the NYU School of Law.
“Until the change, the true benefactors could remain hidden by calling the gifts ‘personal hospitality,’” Gillers said.
Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island has led the charge on behalf of some members of Congress to press the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to more clearly define the scope of the exemption….
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