H.R. 5677 (109th): Ethics and Lobbying Reform Act of 2006

109th Congress, 2005–2006. Text as of Jun 22, 2006 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

HR 5677 IH

109th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5677

To provide for ethics and lobbying reform.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 22, 2006

Mr. SHAYS (for himself and Mr. MEEHAN) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committees on House Administration and Rules, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To provide for ethics and lobbying reform.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Ethics and Lobbying Reform Act of 2006'.

TITLE I--MISCELLANEOUS ETHICS REFORMS.

SEC. 101. DISCLOSURE OF PAID EFFORTS TO STIMULATE GRASSROOTS LOBBYING.

    (a) Definitions- Section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (in this title referred to as the `Act') (2 U.S.C. 1602) is amended--

      (1) in paragraph (7), by adding at the end the following: `Lobbying activities include paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying, but do not include grassroots lobbying.'; and

      (2) by adding at the end the following:

      `(17) GRASSROOTS LOBBYING- The term `grassroots lobbying' means the voluntary efforts of members of the general public to communicate their own views on an issue to Federal officials or to encourage other members of the general public or segments thereof to do the same.

      `(18) PAID EFFORTS TO STIMULATE GRASSROOTS LOBBYING-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- The term `paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying' means any paid attempt in support of lobbying contacts on behalf of a client to influence the general public or segments thereof to contact one or more covered legislative or executive branch officials (or Congress as a whole) to urge such officials (or Congress) to take specific action with respect to a matter described in section 3(8)(A), except that such term does not include any communications by an entity directed to its members, employees, officers, or shareholders.

        `(B) PAID ATTEMPT TO INFLUENCE THE GENERAL PUBLIC OR SEGMENTS THEREOF- The term `paid attempt to influence the general public or segments thereof' does not include an attempt to influence directed at less than 500 members of the general public.

        `(C) REGISTRANT- For purposes of this paragraph, a person or entity is a member of a registrant if the person or entity--

          `(i) pays dues or makes a contribution of more than a nominal amount to the registrant;

          `(ii) makes a contribution of more than a nominal amount of time to the registrant;

          `(iii) is entitled to participate in the governance of the registrant;

          `(iv) is 1 of a limited number of honorary or life members of the registrant; or

          `(v) is an employee, officer, director or member of the registrant.

      `(19) GRASSROOTS LOBBYING FIRM- The term `grassroots lobbying firm' means a person or entity that--

        `(A) is retained by 1 or more clients to engage in paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying on behalf of such clients; and

        `(B) receives income of, or spends or agrees to spend, an aggregate of $25,000 or more for such efforts in any calendar quarter.'.

    (b) Registration- Section 4(a) of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1603(a)) is amended--

      (1) in the flush matter at the end of paragraph (3)(A), by adding at the end the following: `For purposes of clauses (i) and (ii), the term `lobbying activities' shall not include paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying.'; and

      (2) by adding after paragraph (3) the following:

      `(4) FILING BY GRASSROOTS LOBBYING FIRMS- Not later than 45 days after a grassroots lobbying firm is first retained by a client to engage in paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying, such grassroots lobbying firm shall register with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives.'.

    (c) Separate Itemization of Paid Efforts To Stimulate Grassroots Lobbying- Section 5(b) of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1604(b)) is amended--

      (1) in paragraph (3)--

        (A) by inserting `or a grassroots lobbying firm' after `lobbying firm'; and

        (B) by inserting after `total amount of all income' the following: `(including a separate good faith estimate of the total amount of income specifically relating to paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying and, within that amount, a good faith estimate of the total amount specifically relating to paid advertising)';

      (2) in paragraph (4), by inserting after `total expenses' the following: `(including a good faith estimate of the total amount of expenses specifically relating to paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying and, within that total amount, a good faith estimate of the total amount specifically relating to paid advertising)'; and

      (3) by adding at the end the following flush sentence:

    `Subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (2) shall not apply with respect to reports relating to paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying.'.

    (d) Good Faith Estimates and De Minimis Rules for Paid Efforts To Stimulate Grassroots Lobbying-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Section 5(c) of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1604(c)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

      `(3) Estimates of income or expenses specifically relating to paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying shall be made as follows:

        `(A) Estimates of amounts in excess of $25,000 shall be rounded to the nearest $20,000.

        `(B) In the event income or expenses do not exceed $25,000, the registrant shall include a statement that income or expenses totaled less than $25,000 for the reporting period.'.

      (2) TAX REPORTING- Section 15 of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1610) is amended--

        (A) in subsection (a)--

          (i) in paragraph (1), by striking `and' after the semicolon;

          (ii) in paragraph (2), by striking the period and inserting `; and'; and

          (iii) by adding at the end the following:

      `(3) in lieu of using the definition of paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying in section 3(18), consider as paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying only those activities that are grassroots expenditures as defined in section 4911(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.'; and

        (B) in subsection (b)--

          (i) in paragraph (1), by striking `and' after the semicolon;

          (ii) in paragraph (2), by striking the period and inserting `; and'; and

          (iii) by adding at the end the following:

      `(3) in lieu of using the definition of paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying in section 3(18), consider as paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying only those activities that are grassroots expenditures as defined in section 4911(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.'.

    (e) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall take effect on January 1, 2007.

SEC. 102. REQUIREMENT OF FULL PAYMENT AND DISCLOSURE OF CHARTER FLIGHTS.

    (a) House of Representatives-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Clause 5(a)(3)(A) of rule XXV of the Standing Rules of the House of Representatives is amended--

        (A) by inserting `(1)' after `(A)'; and

        (B) by adding at the end the following:

      `(2) Market value for a flight on an aircraft that is not licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate for compensation or hire shall be the fair market value of a charter flight. The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct shall make public information received under this subparagraph as soon as possible after it is received.'.

      (2) DISCLOSURE- Clause 5 of rule XXV of the Standing Rules of the House of Representatives is amended by adding at the end the following:

    `(g) A Member, officer, or employee who takes a flight described in paragraph (a)(3)(A)(2) shall, with respect to the flight, file a report with the Clerk of the House of Representatives for public disclosure within 10 days after the flight--

      `(1) the date of the flight;

      `(2) the destination of the flight and all other persons on the flight, other than those operating the aircraft; and

      `(3) the purpose of the trip.'.

    (b) Senate-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Paragraph 1(c)(1) of rule XXXV of the Standing Rules of the Senate is amended--

        (A) by inserting `(A)' after `(1)'; and

        (B) by adding at the end the following:

      `(B) Market value for a flight on an aircraft that is not licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate for compensation or hire shall be the fair market value of a charter flight. The Select Committee on Ethics shall make public information received under this subparagraph as soon as possible after it is received.'.

      (2) DISCLOSURE- Paragraph 1 of rule XXXV of the Standing Rules of the Senate is amended by adding at the end the following:

    `(h) A Member, officer, or employee who takes a flight described in subparagraph (c)(1)(B) shall, with respect to the flight, file a report with the Secretary of the Senate for public disclosure within 10 days after the flight--

      `(1) the date of the flight;

      `(2) the destination of the flight;

      `(3) all other persons on the flight, other than those operating the aircraft; and

      `(4) the purpose of the trip.'.

    (c) Candidates- Subparagraph (B) of section 301(8) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (42 U.S.C. 431(8)(B)) is amended--

      (1) in clause (xiii), by striking `and' at the end;

      (2) in clause (xiv), by striking the period and inserting `; and'; and

      (3) by adding at the end the following :

          `(xv) any travel expense for a flight on an aircraft that is not licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate for compensation or hire, but only if the candidate or the candidate's authorized committee or other political committee pays within 7 days after the date of the flight to the owner, lessee, or other person who provides the use of the aircraft an amount not less than the normal and usual charter fare or rental charge for a comparable commercial aircraft of appropriate size.'.

SEC. 103. GIFTS.

    Clause 5 of rule XXV of the Rules of the House of Representatives is amended--

      (1) in subparagraph (a)(1), by striking subdivision (B) and by striking `(A)';

      (2) by adding at the end of subparagraph (a)(2)(A) the following new sentence: `The term `gift' also includes payments or other disbursements made, or arranged to be made, for a party, reception, or other event in the honor or recognition of a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee that is held at a national party convention.'; and

      (3) in subparagraph (a)(4)(C), by striking `unless' and all that follows thereafter and inserting a period.

SEC. 104. PROHIBITION ON PRIVATELY FUNDED TRAVEL.

    Clause 5(b)(1)(A) of rule XXV of the Standing Rules of the House of Representatives is amended by inserting `or from a nongovernmental organization that retains or employs registered lobbyists or agents of a foreign principal' after `foreign principal'.

SEC. 105. PROHIBITING LOBBYIST ORGANIZATION AND PARTICIPATION IN CONGRESSIONAL TRAVEL.

    (a) In General- Clause 5 of rule XXV of the Standing Rules of the House of Representatives is amended by redesignating paragraphs (e), (f), and (g) as paragraphs (g), (h), and (i), respectively, and by inserting after paragraph (d) the following:

    `(e) A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House may not accept transportation or lodging on any trip that is planned, organized, requested, arranged, or financed in whole or in part by a lobbyist or agent of a foreign principal, or in which a lobbyist participates.

    `(f) Before a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House may accept transportation or lodging otherwise permissible under this paragraph from any person, such individual shall obtain 30 days before such trip a written certification from such person (and provide a copy of such certification to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct) that--

      `(1) the trip was not planned, organized, requested, arranged, or financed in whole, or in part by a registered lobbyist or agent of a foreign principal and was not organized at the request of a registered lobbyist or agent of a foreign principal;

      `(2) registered lobbyists will not participate in or attend the trip; and

      `(3) the person did not accept, from any source, funds specifically earmarked for the purpose of financing the travel expenses.

    The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct shall make public information received under this paragraph as soon as possible after it is received.'.

    (b) Conforming Amendments- Clause 5(b)(3) of rule XXV of the Rules of the House of Representatives is amended--

      (1) by striking `of expenses reimbursed or to be reimbursed';

      (2) in subdivision (E), by striking `and' after the semicolon;

      (3) in subdivision (F), by striking the period and inserting `; and'; and

      (4) by adding at the end the following:

      `(G) a description of meetings and events attended during such travel, except when disclosure of such information is deemed by the Member, or the supervisor under whose direct supervision the employee works, to jeopardize the safety of an individual or otherwise interfere with the official duties of the Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee.'.

    (c) Public Availability- Subparagraph (5) of rule XXV(b) of the Rules of the House of Representatives is amended to read as follows:

    `(5) The Clerk of the House shall make available to the public all advance authorizations, certifications, and disclosures filed pursuant to subparagraph (1) and subparagraph (3)(G) as soon as possible after they are received.'.

SEC. 106. DISCLOSURE OF LOBBYIST CONTRIBUTIONS.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Section 5(b) of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1604(b)) is amended--

      (1) in paragraph (3), by striking `and' after the semicolon;

      (2) in paragraph (4), by striking the period and inserting a semicolon; and

      (3) by inserting after paragraph (4) the following:

      `(5) for each registrant (and for any political committee, as defined in 301(4) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431(4)), affiliated with the registrant), and for each employee listed as a lobbyist by the registrant under paragraph (2)(C)--

        `(A) the name of each Federal candidate, officeholder, or leadership PAC, or political party committee, to whom a contribution was made, and the date and amount of such contribution; and

        `(B) the name of each Federal candidate or officeholder, or leadership PAC of such candidate or officeholder, or political party committee, for whom a fundraising event was hosted, co-hosted, or otherwise sponsored, the date and location of the event, and the total amount raised by the event; and

      `(6) the date, recipient, and amount of funds contributed or disbursed by, or arranged, by the registrant or an employee listed as a lobbyist by the registrant under paragraph (2)(C)--

        `(A) to pay the costs of an event to honor or recognize a covered legislative branch official or covered executive branch official;

        `(B) to, or on behalf of, an entity that is named for a covered legislative branch official or covered executive branch official, or to a person or entity in recognition of such official;

        `(C) to an entity that is established, financed, maintained, or controlled by a covered legislative branch official or covered executive branch official, or an entity designated by such official; or

        `(D) to pay the costs of a meeting, retreat, conference, or other similar event held by, or for the benefit of, 1 or more covered legislative branch officials or covered executive branch officials;

      except that this paragraph shall not apply to any payment or reimbursement made from funds required to be reported under section 304 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 434).'.

    (b) Conforming Amendment- Section 3 of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1602) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

      `(19) LEADERSHIP PAC- The term `leadership PAC' means, with respect to an individual holding Federal office, an unauthorized political committee (as defined in the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971) which is associated with such individual.'.

SEC. 107. EXTENSION OF THE POST-EMPLOYMENT RESTRICTION PERIOD.

    (a) Length of Post-Employment Restriction Period- Section 207(e) of title 18, United States Code, is amended in each of paragraphs (1)(A), (2)(A), (3), (4)(A), and (5)(A) by striking `1 year' and inserting `2 years.'

    (b) Effective Date- The amendments made by subsection (a) shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act, but shall not apply to any Member of Congress or any officer who leaves office, or to any employee whose employment terminates, before the date of enactment of this Act.

TITLE II--ESTABLISHMENT OF OFFICE OF PUBLIC INTEGRITY

SEC. 201. ESTABLISHMENT OF OFFICE OF PUBLIC INTEGRITY.

    There is established, as an independent office within the legislative branch of the Government, the Office of Public Integrity (in this title referred to as the `Office').

SEC. 202. DIRECTOR.

    (a) APPOINTMENT OF DIRECTOR- (1) The head of the Office shall be a Director, who shall be appointed jointly by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the majority leader of the Senate, and the minority leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Director shall be selected and appointed without regard to political affiliation and solely on the basis of fitness to perform the duties of the Office.

    (2)(A) An individual is ineligible for appointment as the Director if the individual, within the preceding 5 years, has been a registered lobbyist under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 or an agent of a foreign principal under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended, in a case in which the foreign principal was the government of a foreign country.

    (B) The Director may not have been a Member of the House of Representatives or a Senator.

    (C) The Director shall possess demonstrated integrity, independence, and public credibility and shall have training or experience in law enforcement, the judiciary, or as a member of a Federal, State, or local ethics enforcement agency.

    (b) VACANCY- A vacancy in the office of Director shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made.

    (c) Term of Office- The Director shall serve for a term of 5 years and may be reappointed.

    (d) Removal - The Director may be removed by a majority of the appointing authority for--

      (1) disability that substantially prevents the Director from carrying out his or her duties;

      (2) incompetence;

      (3) neglect of duty; or

      (4) malfeasance, including a felony or conduct involving moral turpitude.

    In removing the Director, a statement of the reasons for removal shall be provided in writing to the Director by the members who voted for removing the Director and shall be made public.

    (e) Compensation- The Director shall be compensated at the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of title 5, United States Code.

SEC. 203. DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE OFFICE.

    (a) DUTIES- The Office is authorized--

      (1) to receive, monitor, and oversee financial disclosure and other reports filed by Members of Congress and officers and employees of Congress under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, and reports filed by registered lobbyists under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995;

      (2) to investigate any alleged violation, by a Member, officer, or employee of the House of Representatives or the Senate, of any rule or other standard of conduct applicable to the conduct of such Member, officer, or employee under applicable House or Senate rules in the performance of the duties, or the discharge of the responsibilities, of such Member, officer, or employee;

      (3) to present a case of probable ethics violations to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the House of Representatives or the Select Committee on Ethics of the Senate;

      (4) to make recommendations to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the House of Representatives or the Select Committee on Ethics of the Senate that the committee report to the appropriate Federal or State authorities any substantial evidence of a violation by a Member, officer, or employee of the House of Representatives or the Senate of any law applicable to the performance of the duties, or the discharge of the responsibilities, of such Member, officer, or employee, that may have been disclosed in an investigation by the Office;

      (5) to provide information and informal guidance to Members, officers, and employees of the House of Representatives and the Senate regarding any rules and other standards of conduct applicable to such individuals in their official capacities, and develop and carry out periodic educational briefings for Members, officers, and employees of the House of Representatives and the Senate, on those laws, rules, regulations, or other standards;

      (6) to consider the request of any Member, officer, or employee of the House of Representatives or the Senate for a formal advisory opinion or other formal ruling, subject to the review of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the House of Representatives or the Select Committee on Ethics of the Senate, as applicable, with respect to the general propriety of any current or proposed conduct of such Member, officer, or employee and, with appropriate deletions to assure the privacy of the individual concerned, to publish such opinion for the guidance of other Members, officers, and employees of the House of Representatives or the Senate;

      (7) to conduct periodic and random reviews and audits of reports filed with it to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and rules; and

      (8) to provide informal guidance to registrants under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 of their responsibilities under such Act.

    (b) POWERS-

      (1) Obtaining information- Upon request of the Office, the head of any agency or instrumentality of the Government shall furnish information that the Director considers necessary to enable the Office to carry out its duties.

      (2) REFERRALS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE- Whenever the Director has reason to believe that a violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 may have occurred, the Director shall refer that matter to the Department of Justice for investigation.

      (3) GENERAL AUDITS- The Director may conduct general audits of filings under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995.

SEC. 204. INVESTIGATIONS AND INTERACTION WITH THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON STANDARDS OF OFFICIAL CONDUCT OR THE SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON ETHICS.

    (a) INITIATION OF ENFORCEMENT MATTERS- (1) The Office may initiate an investigation under section 203(a)(2) when a complaint is filed with the Office by a Member of Congress or an outside complainant, or upon its own initiative, based on any information the Office possesses. The Director may not accept a complaint concerning a Member of Congress within 60 days before an election involving such Member.

    (2) Within 30 days after a complaint is filed under paragraph (1), the Director shall make an initial determination of whether the complaint should be dismissed or whether there are sufficient grounds to conduct an investigation under section 203(a)(2). The Director shall provide to the individual who is the subject of the complaint an opportunity, during that 30-day period, to challenge the complaint. If the Director decides to dismiss a complaint, the Director can determine the complaint to be frivolous.

    (3) If the Director determines that a complaint is frivolous, the Director may not accept any future complaint filed by the person who filed the complaint, and the complainant shall be required to pay for the costs of the Office resulting from the complaint. The Director may refer the matter to the Department of Justice to collect those costs.

    (4) If the Office begins an investigation under section 203(a)(2) on its own initiative, the Director shall make a preliminary determination of whether there are sufficient grounds to conduct the investigation. Before making that determination, the Director shall provide to the individual who is the subject of the investigation an opportunity to submit information to the Director that there are not sufficient grounds to conduct an investigation.

    (5) If the Director determines that there are sufficient grounds to conduct an investigation under section 203(a)(2)--

      (A) the Director shall notify the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct or the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, as applicable, of this determination;

      (B) the applicable committee may overrule the determination of the Director if, within 10 legislative days--

        (i) the committee by an affirmative, roll-call vote of two-thirds of the full committee votes to overrule the determination of the Director;

        (ii) the committee issues a public report detailing its reasoning for overruling the Director;

        (iii) the vote of each member of the committee on such roll- call vote is included in the report; and

        (iv) dissenting members are allowed to issue their own report detailing their reasons for disagreeing with the majority vote; and

      (C) if the applicable committee votes to overrule the determination of the Director pursuant to subparagraph (B), the Director may publish and make available to the general public a report detailing the reasons that the Director concluded there were sufficient grounds to conduct an investigation.

    (b) CONDUCTING INVESTIGATIONS- (1) If the Director determines that there are sufficient grounds to conduct an investigation under section 203(a)(2) and the Director's determination is not overruled under subsection (a)(5), the Director shall conduct an investigation to determine whether probable cause exists that a violation occurred.

    (2) As part of an investigation, the Director may--

      (A) administer oaths;

      (B) issue subpoenas;

      (C) compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of papers, books, accounts, documents, and testimony; and

      (D) take the deposition of witnesses.

    (3) If a person disobeys or refuses to comply with a subpoena, or if a witness refuses to testify to a matter, that person may be held in contempt of Congress.

    (c) PRESENTATION OF CASE TO HOUSE COMMITTEE ON STANDARDS OF OFFICIAL CONDUCT OR SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON ETHICS- (1) If the Director determines, upon conclusion of an investigation, that probable cause exists that an ethics violation has occurred, the Director shall notify the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the House of Representatives or the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, as applicable, of that determination.

    (2) The applicable committee may overrule the determination of the Director if, within 10 legislative days--

      (A) the committee by an affirmative, roll-call vote of two-thirds of the full committee votes to overrule the determination of the Director;

      (B) the committee issues a public report detailing its reasoning for overruling the Director;

      (C) the vote of each member of the committee on the roll-call vote is included in the report; and

      (D) dissenting members are allowed to issue their own report detailing their reasons for disagreeing with the majority vote.

    (3) If the applicable committee votes to overrule the determination of the Director pursuant to paragraph (2), the Director may publish and make available to the general public a report detailing the reasons that the Director concluded there were sufficient grounds to present the case to the committee.

    (4)(A) If the Director determines there is probable cause that an ethics violation has occurred and the Director's determination is not overruled, the Director shall present the case and evidence to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the House of Representatives or the Select Committee on Ethics of the Senate, as applicable, to hear and make a determination pursuant to its rules.

    (B) The applicable committee shall vote upon whether the individual who is the subject of the investigation has violated any rules or other standards of conduct applicable to that individual in his official capacity. Such votes shall be a roll-call vote of the full committee, a quorum being present. The committee shall issue a public report which shall include the vote of each member of the committee on the roll-call vote. Dissenting members may issue their own report detailing their own reasons for disagreeing with the majority vote.

    (f) SANCTIONS- Whenever the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the House of Representatives or the Select Committee on Ethics of the Senate finds that an ethics violation has occurred, the Director shall recommend appropriate sanctions to the committee and whether a matter should be referred to the Department of Justice for investigation.

    (g) LEGISLATIVE DAYS- In this section, the term `legislative days' means all days other than those days described in section 154(b) of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2194(b)).

SEC. 205. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW AND IN THE RULES OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

    (a) RULES OF THE HOUSE- (1) Paragraphs (a) through (e) of clause 3 of rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives are amended to read as follows:

    `(a) The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct has the following functions:

      `(1) The committee may recommend to the House from time to time such administrative actions as it may consider appropriate to establish or enforce standards of official conduct for Members, Delegates, the Resident Commissioner, officers, and employees of the House. A letter of reproval or other administrative action of the committee pursuant to an investigation by the Office of Public Integrity referred to in subparagraph (2) shall only be issued or implemented as a part of a report required by such subparagraph.

      `(2) The committee may hear, in an adjudicatory capacity, a case presented to it by the Director of the Office of Public Integrity (in this clause referred to as the `Director') of an alleged violation by a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House of the Code of Official Conduct or of a rule or other standard of conduct applicable to the conduct of such Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee in the performance of his or her duties or the discharge of his or her responsibilities. After notice and hearing (unless the right to such a hearing is waived by the Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee), the committee shall report to the House its findings of fact and recommendations, if any, for the final disposition of any such investigation and such action as the committee may consider appropriate in the circumstances.

      `(3) After the Director determines that there are sufficient grounds to pursue an investigation of any individual referred to in subparagraph (2) or that there is probable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, the committee may overrule this determination by a two-thirds vote of the committee within 10 legislative days after being so notified by the Director. Any such vote shall be recorded and made available to the public. If the committee reverses the Director's determination to proceed with the case, then the committee shall file in a timely manner a report to the House and made available to the general public explaining its decision. Committee members who voted against reversing the Director's determination may file their own public reports on the matter.

      `(4) The committee may report to the appropriate Federal or State authorities, either with the approval of the House or by an affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the committee, any substantial evidence of a violation by a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House, of a law applicable to the performance of his or her duties or the discharge of his or her responsibilities that may have been disclosed to the committee by the Director as the result of an investigation.

    `(b)(1) Unless approved by an affirmative vote of a majority of its members, the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct may not report a resolution, report, or recommendation relating to the official conduct of a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House.

    `(2) A member of the committee shall be ineligible to participate as a member of the committee in a committee proceeding relating to the member's official conduct. Whenever a member of the committee is ineligible to act as a member of the committee under the preceding sentence, the Speaker shall designate a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner from the same political party as the ineligible member to act in any proceeding of the committee relating to that conduct.

    `(3) A member of the committee may disqualify himself or herself from participating in an investigation of the conduct of a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House upon the submission in writing and under oath of an affidavit of disqualification stating that the member cannot render an impartial and unbiased decision in the case in which the member seeks to be disqualified. If the committee approves and accepts such affidavit of disqualification, the chairman shall so notify the Speaker and request the Speaker to designate a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner from the same political party as the disqualifying member to act in any proceeding of the committee relating to that case.

    `(4) Information or testimony received, or the contents of a complaint or the fact of its filing, may not be publicly disclosed by any committee or staff member unless specifically authorized in each instance by a vote of the full committee.

    `(c)(1) Notwithstanding clause 2(g)(1) of rule XI, each meeting of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct or a subcommittee thereof shall occur in executive session unless the committee or subcommittee, by an affirmative vote of a majority of its members, opens the meeting to the public.

    `(2) Notwithstanding clause 2(g)(2) of rule XI, each adjudicatory hearing of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct shall be held in open session unless the committee, in open session by an affirmative vote of a majority of its members, closes all or part of the remainder of the hearing on that day to the public.

    `(d) Before a member, officer, or employee of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct may have access to information that is confidential under the rules of the committee, the following oath (or affirmation) shall be executed:

      `I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will not disclose, to any person or entity outside the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, any information received in the course of my service with the committee, except as authorized by the committee or in accordance with its rules.'.

    Copies of the executed oath shall be retained by the Clerk as part of the records of the House. This paragraph establishes a standard of conduct within the meaning of paragraph (a)(2). Breaches of confidentiality shall be investigated by the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and appropriate action shall be taken.'.

    (2) Clause 3 of rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives is amended--

      (A) by redesignating paragraphs (f) through (i) as paragraphs (e) through (h), respectively;

      (B) by striking paragraphs (j) through (q); and

      (C) in paragraph (g), as redesignated, by striking `any hearing held by an adjudicatory subcommittee or' both places it appears.

    (3) Clause 5(a)(4) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives is repealed.

    (b) Changes in Ethics in Government Act of 1978- Title I of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 is amended as follows:

      (1) Section 101(h) is amended by striking `the congressional ethics committees' and inserting `the Director of the Office of Public Integrity'.

      (2) Section 103 is amended--

        (A) in subsection (h)(1)(A)--

          (i) in clause (i)(I), by striking `Clerk of the House of Representatives' and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity';

          (ii) in clause (i)(II), by striking `Secretary of the Senate' and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity';

          (iii) in clause (ii), by striking `1989--' and all that follows through the end and inserting `1989, the Director of the Office of Public Integrity; and';

        (B) in subsection (i), by striking `Clerk of the House of Representatives or Secretary of the Senate, as the case may be' and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity';

        (C) by striking subsection (j) and redesignating subsection (k) as subsection (j); and

        (D) in subsection (j) (as redesignated)--

          (i) by striking `Clerk of the House of Representatives and Secretary of the Senate' and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity'; and

          (ii) by striking `Clerk and the Secretary' both places it appears and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity'.

      (3) Section 105 is amended--

        (A) by striking `Clerk of the House of Representatives, and the Secretary of the Senate' each place it appears and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity';

        (B) by striking `Clerk or the Secretary of the Senate, as the case may be' each place it appears and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity';

        (B) by striking `Clerk, or Secretary of the Senate, as the case may be' and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity'; and

        (D) in subsection (d)--

          (i) by striking `Clerk of the House of Representatives or the Secretary of the Senate' and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity'; and

          (ii) by striking `Clerk or the Secretary of the Senate, as the case may be' and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity'.

      (4) paragraph (1) of section 109 is repealed.

      (5) Section 111(2) is amended by striking `Select Committee on Ethics of the Senate and the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the House of Representatives, as appropriate,' and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity'.

    (d) CHANGES IN LOBBYING DISCLOSURE ACT OF 1995-

      (1) TRANSFER OF JURISDICTION TO OFFICE OF PUBLIC INTEGRITY-

        (A) FILING OF REGISTRATIONS- Section 4 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1603) is amended--

          (i) in subsection (a)(1), by striking `Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives' and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity'; and

          (ii) in subsection (d), by striking `Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives' and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity'.

        (B) REPORTS BY REGISTERED LOBBYISTS- Section 5(a) of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1604(a)) is amended by striking `Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives' and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity'.

        (C) DISCLOSURE AND ENFORCEMENT- Section 6 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1605) is amended by striking `Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives' and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity'.

        (D) PENALTIES- Section 7 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1606) is amended by striking `Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House of Representatives' and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity'.

        (E) RULES OF CONSTRUCTION- Section 8(c) of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1607(c)) is amended by striking `Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House of Representatives' and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity'.

        (F) ESTIMATES BASED ON TAX REPORTING SYSTEM- Section 15(c)(1) of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1610(c)(1)) is amended by striking `Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives' and inserting `Director of the Office of Public Integrity'.

      (2) FILING IN ELECTRONIC FORM-

        (A) REGISTRATIONS- Section 4 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1603) is amended by adding at the end the following:

    `(e) FILING IN ELECTRONIC FORM- A registration required to be filed under this section shall be filed in electronic form, in addition to any other form that may be required by the Office of Public Integrity.'.

        (B) REPORTS- Section 5 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1604) is amended by adding at the end the following:

    `(d) FILING IN ELECTRONIC FORM- A report required to be filed under this section shall be filed in electronic form, in addition to any other form that may be required by the Office of Public Integrity. The Office shall make such filings available to the public on the Internet in a searchable database.'.

SEC. 206. FORMAL ADVISORY OPINIONS AND INTERPRETATIONS.

    The Office shall have the authority to provide formal advisory opinions and interpretations of rules and other standards of conduct applicable to Members, officers, and employees of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the House of Representatives or the Select Committee on Ethics of the Senate, by a two-thirds vote of the full committee, may revise or overturn any such formal ruling by the Office that is applicable to the Members, officers, and employees of that House of Congress. Any such vote shall be recorded and made publicly available, and shall be accompanied by a written explanation for that action. Dissenting members are allowed to issue their own report detailing reasons for disagreeing with the majority vote.

SEC. 207. PROCEDURAL RULES.

    (a) PROHIBITION OF CERTAIN INVESTIGATIONS- No investigation shall be undertaken by the Office of any alleged violation of a law, rule, regulation, or standard of conduct not in effect at the time of the alleged violation; nor shall any investigation be undertaken by the Office of any alleged violation which occurred before the third Congress preceding the Congress in which the investigation would be undertaken unless the Office determines that the alleged violation is directly related to an alleged violation which occurred in a more recent Congress.

    (b) DISCLOSURE- Information or testimony received, or the contents of a complaint or the fact of its filing, may be publicly disclosed by the Director or by the staff of the Office only if authorized by the Director.

SEC. 208. ADMINISTRATION.

    (a) Staff and Support Services- The Director may appoint and fix the compensation of such staff as the Director considers necessary, including deputy directors for ethics matters relating to the House of Representatives and to the Senate, a general counsel, and such investigators, auditors, and other staff as the Director considers necessary.

    (b) APPLICABILITY OF CIVIL SERVICE LAWS- The Director and other members of the staff of the Office shall be appointed without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and shall be paid without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates.

    (c) EXPERTS AND CONSULTANTS- The Director may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code.

    (d) Physical Facilities- The Architect of the Capitol, in consultation with the appropriate entities in the legislative branch, shall locate and provide suitable office space for the operation of the Office on a nonreimbursable basis. The facilities shall serve as the headquarters of the Office and shall include all necessary equipment and incidentals required for the proper functioning of the Office.

    (e) Administrative Support Services and Other Assistance-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Upon the request of the Director, the Architect of the Capitol and the Administrator of General Services shall provide to the Director on a nonreimbursable basis such administrative support services as the Director may request.

      (2) ADDITIONAL SUPPORT- In addition to the assistance set forth in paragraph (1), departments and agencies of the United States may provide the Director such services, funds, facilities, staff, and other support services as the Director considers advisable and as may be authorized by law.

    (f) Use of Mails- The Office may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as Federal agencies and shall, for purposes of the frank, be considered a commission of Congress as described in section 3215 of title 39, United States Code.

    (g) Printing- For purposes of costs relating to printing and binding, including the cost of personnel detailed from the Government Printing Office, the Office shall be deemed to be a committee of the Congress.

SEC. 209. EXPENSES.

    (a) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this title.

    (b) Financial and Administrative Services- The Director may place orders and enter into agreements for goods and services with the head of any agency, or major organizational unit within an agency, in the legislative or executive branch of the Government in the same manner and to the same extent as agencies are authorized to do so under sections 1535 and 1536 of title 31, United States Code.

    (c) Witness Fees and Allowances- Witnesses before the Office shall be paid the same fee and mileage allowances as are paid subpoenaed witnesses in the courts of the United States.

SEC. 210. REPORTS BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL.

    Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, and at the close of the 110th Congress and at the close of each Congress thereafter, the Comptroller General shall submit a report to each House of Congress of the level of funding necessary for the Office to effectively carry out its duties under this title.

SEC. 211. TRANSFER OF RECORDS.

    Ninety days after the effective date of this title, the Office of Public Records in the Senate and the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives shall transfer all records to the Office of Public Integrity with respect to their former duties under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 and the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.

SEC. 212. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Except as provided by subsection (b) and by section 210, this title shall take effect on January 1, 2007.

    (b) EXCEPTION- Sections 202, 208, and 209 shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act.