Carper Applauds Committee Passage of Legislation to Increase Transparency Regarding Senior Government Leaders

After clearing HSGAC, the PLUM Act now heads to the full Senate for a vote


WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), applauded the Committee’s passage of the PLUM Act of 2020 (S.3896). The legislation would increase transparency regarding those who serve in senior positions throughout our government.

“It’s pretty simple: the American people deserve to know who is serving at the highest levels of our government,” said Senator Carper. “The individuals who fill these positions are often making consequential decisions that affect the lives of millions, and it is just common sense that the public should be able to more easily find out who the President – in any administration – has appointed to make those decisions. I want to thank Chairwoman Maloney, Chairman Connolly and Rep. Sarbanes for being my partners in the House on this effort, and I would urge all my Senate colleagues to support this legislation that will increase transparency in our government going forward.”

Currently, the “United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions,” more commonly known as the Plum Book, is published every four years after the presidential election. According to the General Services Administration (GSA), this publication “contains data on over 9,000 federal civil service leadership and support positions in the legislative and executive branches of the federal government,” including positions appointed by the President.

Earlier this year, Senator Carper introduced legislation to modernize the Plum Book by requiring the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to establish and maintain an up-to-date and publicly available directory of senior government leaders online. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Representative John P. Sarbanes (D-Md.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Specifically, 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 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 more frequent 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 to confirm that information is complete, accurate, reliable, and up-to-date.