The House Ethics Committee has quietly done away with the requirement that lawmakers disclose their all-expense-paid trips on annual financial forms, National Journal reported on Monday.
Trips paid for by private groups are now no longer required to be noted on annual financial-disclosure forms filed by Congress members, according to the Journal. The move was never announced publicly; the Journal said that it discovered the change in a review of the disclosure filings.
The disclosures had been required since the 1970s. Lawmakers must still disclose any privately-paid trips to the House clerk’s office, but the financial disclosure form is the “chief document” that journalists and watchdog groups use to review members’ finances, according to the Journal.
“This is such an obvious effort to avoid accountability,” Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a top watchdog group, told the Journal. “There’s no legitimate reason. There’s no good reason for it.”