Dr. Paul’s Transparency Bill on Royalties Paid to Government Officials Advances from Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, announced his legislation, S. 3664, the Royalty Transparency Act of 2024, advanced out of committee on a bipartisan vote of 12-0. The bill increases transparency on royalty payments paid to Executive Branch officials and makes the financial disclosure forms public for federal advisory committee members such as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Under current law, federal employees are not required to publicly disclose the source or amount of royalty payments received in service of their official duties. Additionally, the financial disclosures of members of federal advisory committees are not available to the public, despite the fact that these committees make recommendations to federal agencies that have a significant impact on the day-to-day lives of Americans. This lack of transparency prevents taxpayers from holding individuals accountable within the federal government for conflicts of interest and other abuse.

Dr. Paul’s legislation introduces long overdue accountability by requiring Executive Branch employees to publicly disclose, royalty payments for inventions developed during their employment with the federal government on their financial disclosure reports.

“Distrust in public health officials is at an all-time high. One way to restore trust is to make sure that public policy isn’t influenced by personal gain,” said Ranking Member Paul. “The Royalty Transparency Act of 2024 will allow more information to be seen by the public to ensure federal decision makers, and the policies they write, aren’t being influenced by the royalty payments they receive. I want to thank Chairman Peters for working with me on this important legislation and remain committed to working on it as it advances to the floor.”  

For years, Dr. Paul has been working to expose the potential conflicts of interest that may arise when millions of dollars in royalties are paid to federal employees serving their official duties. In 2022, Dr. Paul spearheaded a letter with four other members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) requesting information on disclosures of royalty payments made by third-party providers to NIH employees. However, federal agencies, including NIH, have refused to release the information. Through litigation, Open the Books obtained redacted documents and uncovered that approximately 2,400 NIH scientists have been awarded over $300 million in royalties in the last decade, which translates to an average payment of $135,000 per scientist. Since NIH claims that it is not required to disclose this information, it’s still unknown how much each payment amounted to, or why a payment was made. Dr. Paul’s legislation aims to ensure that federal agencies, including the NIH, cannot evade scrutiny from Congress and the public, holding federal employees to a higher standard of accountability.

The Royalty Transparency Act of 2024 mandates that royalty payments received by federal employees from the U.S. Government be disclosed in their financial reports. It also requires members of advisory committees, particularly those at risk of conflicts of interest due to royalties or other financial connections, to adhere to the same standards of financial disclosure as are prevalent across the government. Furthermore, the bill requires that public financial disclosures be made available online, increasing transparency for American taxpayers. The bill introduces greater congressional oversight over the financial disclosure process for executive branch employees and strengthens measures to prevent conflicts of interest in federal procurement.