H. R. 1768
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
April 26, 2013
Mr. Royce(for himself,Ms. Ros-Lehtinen,Mr. Chabot,Mr. McCaul,Mr. Poe of Texas,Mr. Salmon,Mr. Kinzinger of Illinois,Mr. Cotton,Mr. Holding,Mr. Weber of Texas,Mr. Perry,Mr. DeSantis,Mr. Radel,Mr. Collins of Georgia,Mr. Meadows,Mr. Messer, andMr. Grimm) introduced the following bill; which was referred to theCommittee on Foreign Affairs
To amend the Diplomatic Security Act to require certain notifications to Congress of Accountability Review Boards of the Department of State, avoid conflicts of interest of the members of such Boards, require actions with respect to reports from such Boards, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Accountability Review Board Reform Act of 2013
Findings; Sense of Congress
Congressfinds the following:
The United States has a crucial stake in supporting the presence abroad of United States Government personnel representing United States interests.
United States Government personnel and missions abroad are confronted by serious security risks, including the threat of terrorism, which will continue for the foreseeable future.
The Accountability Review Board process was established in 1986 by Congress to conduct a thorough assessment of security-related incidents at or related to a United States Government mission abroad.
Each assessment by a Board is expected to promote strengthened security measures, and to provide for the accountability of United States Government personnel with security-related responsibilities.
The terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, that took the lives of four United States Government personnel has brought unprecedented attention to the work of such Boards.
Sense of Congress
It is the sense ofCongressthat the effectiveness of Accountability Review Boards would be improved by reconstituting such Boards to increase their independence from theDepartment of State.
Notification to Congress about certain information relating to accountability review boards of the Department of State
Subsection (c) of section 301 of the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act(22 U.S.C. 4831)is amended—
in the matter precedingparagraph (1), by inserting
, theChairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives,after
theCommittee on Foreign Relations of the Senate
inparagraph (2), by striking
andat the end;
by redesignatingparagraph (3)asparagraph (5); and
by inserting afterparagraph (2)the following new paragraphs:
of any individual who is employed at a grade of not lower than the level of FS-3 or GS-14 who is hired, assigned, or detailed to assist the Board to carry out its duties;
of any political appointee who is hired, assigned, or detailed to assist the Board to carry out its duties; and
Accountability review boards
Subsection (a) of section 302 of the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act(22 U.S.C. 4832)is amended—
by striking the first sentence and inserting the following new sentence:
A Board shall consist of five members, two appointed by theSecretary of State, two appointed by the Chairperson of the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (the CIGIE Chairperson), and one appointed by the Director of National Intelligence.; and
by striking the final two sentences and inserting the following new sentences:
Members of a Board who are not Federal officers or employees shall each be paid at a rate not to exceed the maximum rate of basic pay payable for level IV of the Executive Schedule under
section 5317of title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel time) during which such members are engaged in the actual performance of duties vested in such Board. Members of the Board who are Federal officers or employees shall receive no additional pay by reason of such membership. Only in exceptional circumstances may a member of a Board be a current Federal officer or employee..
Paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of section 302 of the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Actis amended to read as follows:
A Board may hire staff to assist the Board, and may have any Federal Government employee assigned or detailed to such Board, with or without reimbursement, to assist such Board. Any such assignee or detailee shall retain without interruption the rights, status, and privileges of his or her regular employment.
Any individual who is hired, assigned, or detailed to assist a Board undersubparagraph (A)shall be subject to the rule relating to the avoidance of conflicts of interest undersubsection (a)in the same manner and to the same extent as a Member of such a Board is subject to such avoidance under such subsection.
Office of the Inspector General
To the maximum extent practicable, individuals assisting the Board shall be employees of theOffice of the Inspector General of the Department of State.
Conflicts of interest
Section 302 of the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Actis amended by adding at the end the following new subsections:
Avoidance of conflicts of interest
TheSecretary of State, the CIGIE Chairperson, and theDirector of National Intelligencemay not appoint any individual as a member of a Board if theSecretary, the CIGIE Chairperson, or theDirector, as the case may be, determines that such individual has a conflict of interest concerning a person whose performance such Board reasonably could be expected to review.
An individual shall decline appointment to membership on a Board if such individual has actual knowledge of a conflict of interest concerning a person whose performance such Board could reasonably be expected to review.
Recusal from particular activities
A member of a Board shall recuse him or herself from any Board activity, interview, deposition, or recommendation concerning a person with whom such member has a conflict of interest. Such member shall promptly notify the other members of such Board of any such recusal, but need not state the basis therefor.
Conflict of interest defined
In this section, the term
conflict of interestmeans one of the following relationships, whether current or former, that would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to question the impartiality of the parties to such relationship toward each other:
A business, contractual, or other financial relationship that involves other than a routine consumer transaction.
A familial, member of household, or other close personal relationship, including a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.
A direct managerial or supervisory workplace relationship.
Subsection (a) of section 303 of the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act(22 U.S.C. 4833)is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
Determination of relevancy
The Board may accept any evidence determined by a member of the Board to be relevant and material to an investigation or inquiry of the Board. The Federal Rules of Evidence are not applicable to the Board.
Subsection (b) of section 304 of the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act(22 U.S.C. 4834)is amended to read as follows:
Except as provided inparagraph (2), not later than 90 days after a Board is convened in a case, such Board shall submit to theSecretary of StateandCongressits findings (which may be classified to the extent determined necessary by the Board), together with recommendations as appropriate to improve the security and efficiency of any program or operation which such Board has reviewed.
The 90 day period referred to inparagraph (1)may be extended for up to 60 days if the Chairperson of the Board referred to in such paragraph determines that such additional time is necessary to complete a thorough review of the program or operation at issue.
If a member dissents from any of the findings or recommendations of the Board, such member may submit dissenting views to accompany the submission of the Board’s findings and recommendations underparagraph (1).
Paragraph (1) of subsection (d) of section 304 of the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Actis amended to read as follows:
Not later than 90 days after the submission to theSecretary of Stateof the findings and recommendations from any Board in accordance withsubsection (b), theSecretaryshall submit toCongressa corresponding report on the action taken with respect to each such recommendation.
TheSecretary of Stateshall promulgate or update regulations, as the case may be, to carry out the amendments made by this Act.
The amendments made by this Act shall apply with respect to any case of an Accountability Review Board that is convened under section 301 of the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act(22 U.S.C. 4831)on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.