Around 60 federally employed researchers have joined a lawsuit against a recently enacted law that requires high-level government employees to publicly disclose details of their financial assets and non-federal incomes. Known as the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which was enacted in April, the law aims to deter insider trading among the government’s top ranks. However, researchers from the National Institutes of Health and NASA who are participating in the lawsuit worry the law constitutes an invasion of privacy and will drive talent away from government jobs.
“I am already aware of individuals that have resigned positions or refused to apply for positions that include a Stock Act disclosure obligation,” wrote Joshua Zimmerberg, a biophysicist and lab chief at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. “This directly harms the United States’ unimpaired ability to conduct research into critical areas not covered by commercial interests.”
Per the STOCK Act, the financial information was slated to be posted online starting August 31. But in light of the lawsuit, Congress agreed to delay the date for posting the public disclosure forms by 30 days last week, ScienceInsider reported.