The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has protested the moratorium instituted by a federal judge that indefinitely halted the public release of financial disclosure forms of more than 1,600 federal judges.
District Judge William J. Zloch’s action in Fort Lauderdale kept the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington from releasing the information to APBnews.com, an online news service, which said that it planned on releasing the information on its web site. Zloch chairs the U.S. Judicial Conference’s financial disclosure committee, which meets tomorrow in emergency session to discuss the moratorium. The letter was faxed today to all fifteen members of the Judicial Conference Committee on Financial Disclosure.
“The issuance of a secret moratorium barring the legislatively-mandated disclosure of information violates a legislative enactment, impairs the media’s constitutional right to gather information, and harms the public’s trust in the judicial branch,” Reporters Committee Acting Executive Director Gregg Leslie said in the letter.
Twenty-six federal judges comprise the U.S. Judicial Conference, which is chaired by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and which makes policy for all federal courts.
APBnews.com had submitted a request to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts for copies of the 1998 financial statements of all federal judges and intends to put all of the records on its web site, according to APBnews.com. The news organization said that it mailed a check for approximately $2,500 to cover copying fees for approximately 12,500 pages of documents in November.
For more information, visit the following links:
https://www.rcfp.org/news/documents/judconf.html Protest to Judicial Conference over denial of access to disclosure forms
https://www.rcfp.org/news/1999/1208findiscl.html Public release of judges’ financial disclosures thwarted