Sarbanes, Maloney, Connolly and Carper Lead Effort to Increase Executive Brach Transparency

Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chair Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and House Subcommittee on Government Operations Chairman Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) to introduce the Periodically Listing Updates to Management Act of 2020 (The PLUM Act), a bill to increase transparency of senior leaders in the Executive Branch. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced the Senate companion bill.

“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.

Key provisions of the PLUM Act include:

  • Modernizing the Current Practice of Publishing the “Plum Book” Every Four Years by:
    • Requiring 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.
  • Enhancing Transparency Into Who Sets Policy and Makes Key Decisions in the Executive Branch by:
    • Sharing 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; and
    •  Requiring agencies to report data on senior officials, including the name of the individual, along with the name of the individual’s position, agency and geographic location.
  •  Improving the Frequency, Accuracy and Accessibility of Data on Government Leaders by:
    • Requiring agencies to provide data on a monthly basis to OPM to be published in the directory; and
    • Establishing 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.