Homeland Security

A STOCK Act Anecdote

By Paul Rosenzweig
Wednesday, September 5, 2012, 5:45 PM

In a series of posts (here, here, and here) fellow Lawfare blogger John Bellinger has written about the difficulties with the STOCK Act -- what the Washington Post calls a "Laughing Stock."  Readers will recall that the Act mandates for the online posting of financial disclosure information -- a requirement that John and a host of other national security experts think is a threat to national security.  They fear such information might enable terrorists to target family members or spy agencies to identify targets of influence. Congress has briefly delayed the effective date of the Act until September 30 -- a mere 25 days from now.  They need to do more.

While these fears might seem theoretical, I can attest that they are not.  I recently met someone who is quitting the government because of the STOCK Act.  Of course, I can't identify him/her in any detail (that would defeat his/her interest in maintaining anonymity and avoiding disclosure of his/her identity) but s/he has graciously permitted me to say that I personally know of at least one instance in which a senior civil service executive in the Army intends to resign because of the STOCK Act.  S/He has good reason to fear that the required disclosure might endanger a family member who lives overseas.

Having heard more details about his/her story, I don’t blame him/her.  If I were in his/her position, I’d probably quit too.  And that’s a loss for America.