Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Indefinitely postponed in Senate (11/03/1987)

(Measure indefinitely postponed in Senate, H.R. 2939 passed in lieu)

Independent Counsel Reauthorization Act of 1987 - Revises and makes permanent the current statute regarding the appointment and duties of independent counsels.

Requires the Attorney General to conduct a preliminary investigation whenever information is received sufficient to constitute grounds to investigate whether persons subject to this Act may have violated a criminal law other than a petty offense. (Current law requires the violation of a criminal law other than a Class B or C misdemeanor or an infraction.)

Prohibits any court, if the Attorney General determines that there is insufficient information to conduct an investigation, from ordering the Attorney General to conduct a preliminary investigation. Sets forth a time schedule for the Attorney General to file a written report with the division of the court established for the purpose of appointing independent counsels (a division of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia) if the Attorney General decides not to conduct a preliminary investigation.

Includes among persons subject to this Act: (1) any officer of a campaign for the election or re-election of the President, including a campaign by a national political party, if that officer exercises authority at the national level during the period of the campaign and during the incumbency of the President, if the candidate is elected; and (2) any other person if the Attorney General determines that investigation or prosecution of such person may result in a personal, financial, or political conflict of interest.

Extends the overall cap on the time that covered persons are subject to this Act from two years to five years.

Requires the Attorney General to designate the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to perform the duties of the Attorney General in cases where information concerns the Attorney General or a person with whom the Attorney General has a current or recent personal or financial relationship. Requires the Attorney General to designate another appropriate official if the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia is disqualified from the matter due to a personal or financial conflict of interest. Requires such designations to be in writing to the division of the court.

Authorizes a majority of majority party members or a majority of nonmajority party members of the Committee on the Judiciary of either House of Congress to request the Attorney General to: (1) conduct a preliminary investigation; or (2) request that the division of the court amend an independent counsel's prosecutorial jurisdiction to include any related matter.

Prohibits the Attorney General from basing a decision on not conducting a preliminary investigation or not applying for the appointment of an independent counsel upon a determination that the person who is the subject of an investigation lacked the state of mind required for the violation of criminal law, unless there is clear and convincing evidence that such person lacked such state of mind.

Requires the Attorney General in determining whether reasonable grounds exist to warrant further investigation to consider established policies of the Department of Justice which pertain to the conduct of criminal investigations.

Requires the division of the court to assure that the independent counsel has adequate authority to fully investigate the subject matter.

Provides that the division of the court may expand the prosecutorial jurisdiction of an independent counsel.

Authorizes the court to remand a matter to the Attorney General for an explanation of why such matter will not be further investigated.

Requires the court to appoint an independent counsel who will conduct the investigation and any prosecution in a prompt, responsible, and cost-effective manner. Requires the court to select an independent counsel from among attorneys with appropriate prosecutorial experience, and exempts such selection from judicial review.

Prohibits the attorney fees of a defense counsel from exceeding the hourly rate of the independent counsel. Authorizes the court to direct the Attorney General to make a written evaluation of any request for attorney fees.

Directs the court to give special consideration to congressional committee requests for the disclosure of information and to disclose sufficient information to permit the filing of amicus curiae briefs.

Requires the Attorney General to conduct a preliminary investigation on an additional person or matter referred from the independent counsel if such person or matter is not covered in the prosecutorial jurisdiction of the independent counsel.

Authorizes the independent counsel to report evidence of ethical violations to the Office of Government Ethics and any other Federal agency or officer having jurisdiction over noncriminal violations.

Requires the independent counsel to file a report with the court within 30 days of appointment estimating the length of the investigation, staff needs, and expenses. Requires the counsel to file status reports every 60 days after such initial report, and a final report before termination of such office.

Requires the independent counsel to identify grand jury materials and national security information compiled during the counsel's term of office. Requires that all materials created or received by the counsel be transferred to the control of the National Archivist upon termination of such office. Sets forth rules for the Archivist in releasing such materials.

Establishes standards of conduct for the independent counsel and persons serving in such office. Prohibits the independent counsel and persons appointed by the counsel from representing subjects investigated or prosecuted by such office for five years following the termination of such office.

Establishes provisions of congressional oversight on the conduct of the Attorney General. Requires the Attorney General to include staff recommendations among documents to be disclosed to the Congress.

Declares that good cause for removal of an independent counsel shall not include the refusal of an independent counsel to obey an order of the President if that order would violate the purposes of this Act.

Declares that the clerk of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia shall serve as the clerk of the division of the court.

Terminates this Act five years after enactment. Provides for continuation of pending matters to completion notwithstanding such termination.