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Jen Psaki arrives in the press briefing room Wednesday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Biden White House's ethics and transparency plans are coming into focus, with details unveiled Wednesday about the release of staffers' personal financial information and records of White House visitors.

Why it matters: The administration's disclosure efforts, while preliminary, represent a substantial improvement from those of his predecessor. Nonetheless, good-government advocates are urging the administration to do even more.

What's new: The White House is aiming to begin releasing staffers' personal financial disclosure forms on March 19, a White House spokesperson tells Axios. That's about two weeks earlier than the Trump administration.

  • The public will be able to fill out an online form for a specific staffer's financial information. The forms will contain information such as staffers' assets, income, debts and recent financial transactions.
  • The Trump White House used a similar process, though the requests often went completely unanswered during its final months.

Press secretary Jen Psaki also told reporters the White House plans to release visitor logs each quarter.

  • That's a return to a practice that began in the Obama administration.
  • The Trump White House stopped releasing the logs, which indicate who is meeting with the president and top administration officials, citing "grave national security risks and privacy concerns."

Between the lines: Biden ran on pledges to restore accountability to the White House. Within days of taking office, he implemented an ethics pledge for all incoming administration officials that drew praise from good-government groups.

  • He's also faced questions about problematic efforts to trade on his family name. Biden's brother has played up his relationship with the new president in efforts to promote his law firm.
  • Biden sought to tamp down those questions in an interview with People magazine this week. "No one in our family and extended family is going to be involved in any government undertaking or foreign policy," he said.
  • The niece of Vice President Kamala Harris also has faced questions about profiting from her connection.

The bottom line: Ethics experts have praised Biden's early transparency measures, yet some say they don't go far enough.

  • Walt Shaub, a former director of the Office of Government Ethics, urged Biden to "commit to creating an online database for all legally operative ethics records," a step that would dramatically enhance the public availability of those records.
  • "After what this country went through with [President] Trump," Shaub wrote on Twitter, "they surely can see that we need transparency."

Go deeper

Biden White House says it can't release Trump visitor logs

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that the Biden administration cannot release visitor logs from the Trump White House because they are under the purview of the National Archives.

Why it matters: The visitor logs could provide significant insight into former President Trump's activity in the White House from 2017 to 2021, especially as he increasingly hosted conspiracy theorists toward the end of his presidency. Trump in 2017 said his White House would not release its presidential visitor logs due to national security concerns.

Feb 2, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden tells Senate Democrats that GOP coronavirus plan is "too small"

President Biden in the Oval Office. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden told Senate Democrats at a virtual lunch on Tuesday that Republicans' current $618 billion coronavirus relief proposal is "too small," but he wants to continue working toward a compromise and is willing to bend on the final price, a source on the call tells Axios.

Why it matters: Biden made clear he is not giving up on finding a bipartisan path to passing stimulus legislation, despite many Democrats urging him to use the budget reconciliation process to bypass the GOP. He also said that the White House has red lines that they're unwilling to budge on, including the salary minimums for receiving stimulus checks.

Off the Rails

Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Getty Images photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post, George Frey/Bloomberg

Four conspiracy theorists marched into the Oval Office. It was early evening on Friday, Dec. 18 — more than a month after the election had been declared for Joe Biden, and four days after the Electoral College met in every state to make it official.