The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge, or STOCK, Act was enacted in April with the aim of preventing members of the US Congress from profiting on knowledge they gain through their legislative activities. "[The law] will require agencies to post financial reports for high-level government employees on the Internet," says ScienceInsider's Jocelyn Kaiser. Some 600 senior staff members at the US National Institutes of Health will also be affected, Kaiser adds, and researchers at NIH and NASA have joined in a lawsuit against the bill, saying it infringes on their privacy. NIH researchers already fill out extensive financial reporting forms that are reviewed by officials in the agency's ethics office. But they say that putting the forms on the Internet makes them "vulnerable to identify theft or even kidnapping," Kaiser says. The lawsuit also declares that such disclosures could ruin relationships in the scientific community and negatively affect peer review and salary or job negotiations, she adds. The suit also claims that some NASA scientists have asked to be moved down the pay scale to avoid public disclosures.
Aug 06, 2012