Carper Reintroduces the PLUM ACT

Legislation would increase transparency of Executive Branch’s senior leaders 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), senior member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced The Periodically Listing Updates to Management Act (The PLUM Act). Currently, the federal government publishes a comprehensive list of positions appointed by the President once every four years called 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. This legislation would increase transparency regarding those who serve the American people in senior positions throughout our government.

Senator Carper first introduced The PLUM Act in the 116th Congress. On July 22, 2020 the legislation received bipartisan support and was reported to the full Senate by the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. This week, 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.) also introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. The PLUM Act is supported by over 20 good government organizations, including the Partnership for Public Service.

“As elected officials, we should be working towards making our government more transparent for the American people. That’s why I’m proud to be leading The PLUM Act, a bill that will ensure Americans know in real-time the individuals who are serving them at the highest level of our government – public servants who are often tasked with making decisions that impact the lives of millions. It is just common sense that the public should be able to easily find out who the President – in any administration- has appointed to make those decisions,” Senator Carper said. “I want to thank Chairwoman Maloney, Rep. Connolly and Rep. Sarbanes for leading this effort in the House and I would urge all my Senate colleagues to support this legislation that will increase transparency in our government going forward.”

“The American people deserve to know who is making the decisions that affect their everyday lives as they happen—not every four years,” said Chairwoman Maloney.  “Passing legislation that will provide public knowledge about who is serving in senior leadership positions—in any administration—should be a bipartisan concern.”

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.

The full text of The PLUM Act is available here.