ACIJ launches first public Open Assets site
Pro-transparency NGOs, Asociacíon Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia, Fundación Directorio Legislativo, Poder Ciudadano and LA NACIÓN have teamed up to introduce the first public Open Assets site containing asset histories of public officials from the legislative, executive and judicial branches, as well as primary candidates in October´s elections.
In its first stage of development, you can access more than 600 asset declaration made by 260 civil servants containing information about their financial assets and properties, salaries, vehicles (cars, boats, motorcycles, etc.), loans, debts, stocks and shares over the years.
The development of the project began more than a year ago and in all, more than 10 volunteers from each organization contributed to the project. Additionally, the Interactive Design teams at LA NACION DATA and journalists for both the online and print editions of the newspaper worked on the project.
The publication of comprehensive open asset declarations introduces a valuable democratic tool for preventing corruption, presenting a detailed picture of the history of public officials´ assets, and allowing the public to analyze their management. The open asset project speaks to a commitment to improving transparency in government management and gives citizens the tools to hold public officials accountable.
Open Asset Declarations is an initiative that increases transparency by giving the people a simple way to access information about public officials´ properties across the legislative, executive and judicial branches.
ACIJ was in charge of obtaining and disclosing information on the Judicial Branch’s assets. “We have obtained access from the Judicial Branch to open information on the assets of the judges who lead the federal and chamber courts in the city of Buenos Aires, as well as some of the most important legal authorities in the national justice system,” said María Victoria Gama, one of the attorneys in charge of the project who works with the Citizen Action and Anti-Corruption program at ACIJ.
She added: “Even though we will continue adding information and publishing an even larger number of open asset declarations from federal and national judges, the declarations we have now are particularly important to the public given the relevance of the cases overseen by the judges listed – and this will drive the project forward. We have also requested the asset information for the judges of the National Supreme Court. ACIJ made its first request on October 23rd 2012 – and repeated it twice. At this time we are still waiting for their response so we can incorporate it into the site.”
“Traditionally the Judicial Branch has been irrelevant, or at least distant, to social demands of accountability. The way judges are selected, that is, with the possibility of an indefinite permanent term (except under extremely exceptional circumstances and subject to complicated political proceedings), has constructed a kind of “shield” against the judicial branch regarding the possibility of submitting to public control. That is why this tool constitutes such an important and relevant step and is a vital part of our strategy to assure transparency and accountability in the Judicial Branch,” concluded María Victoria Gama.