skip to main content

H.R. 5219 (109th): Judicial Transparency and Ethics Enhancement Act of 2006

The text of the bill below is as of Apr 27, 2006 (Introduced).



2d Session

H. R. 5219


April 27, 2006

(for himself and Mr. Smith of Texas) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


To amend title 28, United States Code, to provide for the detection and prevention of inappropriate conduct in the Federal judiciary.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Judicial Transparency and Ethics Enhancement Act of 2006.


Inspector General for the Judicial Branch


Creation and duties

Part III of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:


Inspector General for the Judicial Branch

1021.  Establishment.

1022. Appointment of Inspector General.

1023. Duties.

1024. Powers.

1025. Reports.

1026. Whistleblower protection.



There is established for the judicial branch of the Government the Office of Inspector General for the Judicial Branch (hereinafter in this chapter referred to as the Office).


Appointment of Inspector General

The head of the Office shall be the Inspector General, who shall be appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States after consultation with the majority and minority leaders of the Senate and the Speaker and minority leader of the House of Representatives.



With respect to the Judicial Branch, other than the United States Supreme Court, the Office shall—


conduct investigations of matters pertaining to the Judicial Branch, including possible misconduct in office of judges and proceedings under chapter 16 of this title, that may require oversight or other action within the Judicial Branch or by Congress;


conduct and supervise audits and investigations;


prevent and detect waste, fraud, and abuse; and


recommend changes in laws or regulations governing the Judicial Branch.



In carrying out the duties of the Office, the Inspector General shall have the power—


to make investigations and reports;


to obtain information or assistance from any Federal, State, or local governmental agency, or other entity, or unit thereof, including all information kept in the course of business by the Judicial Conference of the United States, the judicial councils of circuits, the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, and the United States Sentencing Commission;


to require, by subpoena or otherwise, the attendance and testimony of such witnesses, and the production of such books, records, correspondence memoranda, papers, and documents, which subpoena, in the case of contumacy or refusal to obey, shall be enforceable by civil action;


to administer to or take from any person an oath, affirmation, or affidavit;


to employ such officers and employees, subject to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates;


to obtain services as authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, at daily rates not to exceed the equivalent rate prescribed for grade GS–18 of the General Schedule by section 5332 of title 5, United States Code; and


to the extent and in such amounts as may be provided in advance by appropriations Acts, to enter into contracts and other arrangements for audits, studies, analyses, and other services with public agencies and with private persons, and to make such payments as may be necessary to carry out the duties of the Office.




When to be made

The Inspector General shall—


make an annual report to the Chief Justice and to Congress relating to the activities of the Office; and


make prompt reports to the Chief Justice and to Congress on matters that may require action by them.


Sensitive matter

If a report contains sensitive matter, the Inspector General may so indicate and Congress may receive that report in closed session.


Duty to inform Attorney General

In carrying out the duties of the Office, the Inspector General shall report expeditiously to the Attorney General whenever the Inspector General has reasonable grounds to believe there has been a violation of Federal criminal law.


Whistleblower protection


In General

No officer, employee, agent, contractor or subcontractor in the Judicial Branch may discharge, demote, threaten, suspend, harass or in any other manner discriminate against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment because of any lawful act done by the employee to provide information, cause information to be provided, or otherwise assist in an investigation regarding any possible violation of Federal law or regulation, or misconduct, by a judge or any other employee in the Judicial Branch, which may assist the Inspector General in the performance of duties under this chapter.


Civil Action

An employee injured by a violation of subsection (a) may, in a civil action, obtain appropriate relief.



Clerical Amendment

The table of chapters for part III of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

60. Inspector General for the Judicial Branch.