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Politics

Maloney, Connolly, Sarbanes, & Carper Introduce Legislation to Increase Transparency

WASHINGTON, DC – On June 4, 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 Committee Member John P. Sarbanes introduced the Periodically Listing Updates to Management Act of 2020 (The PLUM Act) to increase the transparency of the most senior leaders of the Executive Branch by modernizing the Plum Book. Senator Tom Carper introduced the Senate’s companion also titled the Periodically Listing Updates to Management Act of 2020 (The PLUM Act).

“The PLUM Act is essential to increasing government transparency,” the Members said. “The American people deserve to know who is making the decisions that affect their everyday lives as they happen—not every four years. Government transparency should be a bipartisan concern, and we encourage all of our colleagues to support this crucial legislation.”

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.

Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of 18 civil society organizations wrote a letter to Chairwoman Maloney and Ranking Member Jordan expressing their support for the PLUM Act. The bill also has been endorsed by the Partnership for Public Service.

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.

– 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.

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