USDA offers disclosure filing online
- By Judi Hasson
- Apr 27, 2000
The Agriculture Department has become the first federal agency to give top-level
employees the option of filing their annual financial disclosure forms over
Many agencies have the form available on computers, but USDA is the first
to offer it over a World Wide Web site on a secure database. The form must
be filed with the department's Office of Ethics by May 15.
"We're doing it truly online. We're doing it over the Internet, which we
think is a lot less user-hostile," said John Surina, Office of Ethics director.
To prevent conflicts of interest, senior executive and political appointees
across government are required to file a form every year disclosing their
financial holdings. Ethics officers at every agency review the disclosures,
and the information is made available to the public.
The 650 USDA employees required to file financial disclosure forms this
year can simply click on the USDA Office of Ethics
page to find the proper form to fill out.
"This is like ordering a book over Amazon.com," Surina said.
However, the forms still must be signed the old-fashioned way, and employees
still must file a hard copy with a signature.
Completed forms cannot be viewed by the public online, Surina said. The
information is public record, but citizens must request it in writing and
receive a hard copy to view it.