Dec. 15, 2016: This story has been updated because the bill was signed into law.
It took an actual act of Congress to steer local judges in Washington, D.C., toward broader disclosure of potential conflicts of interest.
The U.S. Senate passed a bill Tuesday that mandates increased transparency in the District of Columbia’s court system in response to a 2013 Center for Public Integrity investigation that gave the city a failing grade. The House approved the measure in September.
The legislation's passage was a rarity in the deeply divided Congress and a welcome victory for the city’s non-voting representative to Congress, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who cited the Center’s probe in pushing for changes.
“The public deserves to have complete and appropriate information on the finances of judges charged with upholding justice in our city,” the Democrat said in a statement Wednesday.
The White House did not immediately respond to inquiries on whether President Barack Obama will sign the District of Columbia Judicial Financial Transparency Act before he leaves office, but Norton and one of the Senate sponsors, Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, were optimistic.
(Update, Dec. 15, 4:19 p.m. Obama signed the bill into law on Wednesday, Dec. 14.
"We are pleased the President has signed into law our bill to bring much-needed financial disclosure and other improvements to the D.C. courts,” Norton said in a statement. “Getting a bill through Congress, no matter how uncontroversial, is immensely difficult. I thank my colleagues in Senate for working with me and turning this important bill into statute.”)