WASHINGTON, DC – On March 18, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Rep. Gerry Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Senior Committee Member John Sarbanes introduced the Periodically Listing Updates to Management Act (The PLUM Act) to increase the transparency of the most senior leaders of the Executive Branch by modernizing the Plum Book. They issued this joint statement:
“The PLUM Act will provide the American people with timely and transparent information about senior government officials. This important effort will help improve public trust and confidence in our government at a fragile time for our democracy.”
Currently, a comprehensive list of positions appointed by the President is available only once every four years in a publication referred to as the Plum Book. The PLUM Act would modernize the Plum Book by requiring the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to establish and maintain a current, publicly available directory of senior government leaders online.
A bipartisan group of 24 civil society organizations and experts wrote a letter to Chairwoman Maloney and Ranking Member James Comer expressing their support for the PLUM Act. The bill also has been endorsed by the Partnership for Public Service.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. (Photo: Courtesy of Maloney for Congress)
The PLUM Act would:
Modernize the Current Practice of Publishing the “Plum Book” Every Four Years
Require OPM, in consultation with the General Services Administration (GSA), to develop and maintain a publicly accessible website with data on senior leaders in government that meets modern data standards.
Enhance Transparency into Who is Setting Policy and Making Key Decisions
Share data on senior leaders in government that serve in policy and supporting positions, including Senate-confirmed presidentially appointed positions, presidentially appointed positions, members of the Senior Executive Service—both career and non-career—and certain other senior political appointees.
Display data on vacant positions across the federal government, including senior political appointees and members of the Senior Executive Service.
Require that agencies report data similar to that currently published in the Plum Book, such as the name of the individual, name of the position, agency and component, geographic location, and type of position.
Improve the Frequency, Accuracy and Accessibility of Data on Government Leaders
Require agencies to provide data on a monthly basis to OPM to be published in the directory.
Establish a mechanism for information verification by requiring the Director of OPM to coordinate with the White House Office of Presidential Personnel on a semiannual basis to confirm that information is complete, accurate, reliable, and up-to-date.
Senator Tom Carper plans to introduce the companion bill in the Senate.
The entire text of the PLUM Act is available online: https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/PLUM%20Act.pdf.