Summary: H.Res.168 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (09/18/1997)

Amends rule X (establishment and jurisdiction of standing committees) of the Rules of the House of Representatives to require, at the beginning of each Congress, the Speaker and the minority leader to each designate a list of ten Members from their respective parties who are not members of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and who may be assigned to serve as members of an investigative subcommittee of that Committee during that Congress. Requires the Committee's chairman and ranking minority member, whenever they jointly determine that Members should be assigned to serve on such a subcommittee, to each select the same number of Members of his or her respective party from the list. Prohibits such service from being counted against the limitation on subcommittee service.

(Sec. 2) Decreases the duration of a Member's service on the Committee to two Congresses in any period of three successive Congresses (currently, three Congresses in any period of five successive Congresses), except that a Member who served on the Committee for two Congresses shall be eligible for election to the Committee as chairman or ranking minority member for one additional Congress. Requires not less than two Members from each party to rotate off the Committee at the end of each Congress.

(Sec. 3) Requires the Committee to adopt rules providing that the chairman shall establish the agenda for Committee meetings, but shall not preclude the ranking minority member from placing any item on the agenda.

(Sec. 4) Requires the Committee to adopt rules providing that: (1) the staff is to be professional and shall perform all official duties in a nonpartisan manner; (2) no staff member shall engage in partisan political activities directly affecting any congressional or presidential election; (3) no staff or shared staff member or outside counsel may accept public speaking engagements or write for publication on any subject related to Committee employment or duties without specific prior approval from the chairman and ranking minority member; and (4) no such individuals may make public any material that is confidential, derived from executive session, or classified and that is obtained during the course of Committee employment unless approved by majority vote of the Committee members.

Requires all staff members to be appointed by majority vote of the Committee members.

Allows: (1) the Committee, subject to the approval of the Committee on House Oversight, to retain outside counsel, but requires a majority vote to dismiss an outside counsel before the end of his or her contract; and (2) staff members to be retained only for the duration of a particular investigation or proceeding.

Authorizes the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee to appoint one individual from his or her personal staff as a shared staff member to perform service for the Committee which may include assisting the chairman or ranking minority member on any subcommittee.

(Sec. 5) Requires: (1) each Committee or subcommittee meeting to occur in executive session unless the Committee, by majority vote, opens the meeting to the public; and (2) the Committee's adjudicatory subcommittee hearings or sanction hearings to be held in open session unless the subcommittee or Committee, by majority vote, closes all or part of the remainder of the hearing on that day.

(Sec. 6) Amends rule X to require a specified confidentiality oath to be executed by members, officers, and employees of the Committee or its subcommittees before such individuals are granted access to confidential information.

(Sec. 7) Requires the Committee to adopt rules permitting only its chairman or ranking minority member, after consultation with each other, to make public statements regarding matters before the Committee.

(Sec. 8) Amends rule XI to: (1) prohibit the result of a roll call vote of the Committee taken in executive session from being made available to the public without an affirmative vote of a majority of Committee members; and (2) exempt the Committee from provisions requiring the results of and names on roll call votes to be included in committee reports.

(Sec. 9) Amends rule X to permit the Committee to undertake an investigation of information offered as a complaint from an individual who is not a Member of the House only if a Member certifies that the information is submitted in good faith and warrants Committee consideration.

(Sec. 10) Sets forth provisions requiring the Committee to adopt rules regarding: (1) the time periods for making a determination of whether information constitutes a complaint and for acting on complaints; (3) the duties of the chairman and ranking minority members regarding the disposition of properly filed complaints or information not constituting a complaint; and (4) the authority or requirement to establish, and the composition of, investigative and adjudicatory subcommittees.

(Sec. 14) Requires the Committee to amend its rules to provide that an investigative subcommittee may adopt a statement of alleged violation only if it determines by majority vote that there is substantial reason to believe that a violation of the Code of Official Conduct, or of a law, rule, regulation, or other standard applicable to the performance of official duties, by a House Member, officer, or employee has occurred.

(Sec. 15) Amends rule XI to permit a subpoena to be authorized and issued by a subcommittee of the Committee only when authorized by a majority vote of its members.

Requires the Committee to adopt rules providing that an investigative or adjudicatory subcommittee may, by majority vote: (1) expand the scope of its investigation when approved by an affirmative vote of a majority of the Committee members; and (2) amend its statement of alleged violation anytime before such statement is transmitted to the Committee (requires notice and 30 calendar days for a respondent to file an answer to an amended statement).

(Sec. 16) Requires the Committee to amend its rules to set forth provisions regarding: (1) due process rights of respondents with respect to alleged violation statements by an investigative subcommittee; and (2) Committee and subcommittee reporting requirements with respect to statements of alleged violations and respondent actions.

(Sec. 18) Amends rule X to allow the Committee, by a two-thirds vote, to report to appropriate Federal or State authorities on any substantial evidence of a violation by a House Member, officer, or employee of any law applicable to the performance of his or her duties, which may have been disclosed in the Committee's investigation.

(Sec. 19) Authorizes the Committee to take such action as it deems appropriate with respect to a complaint or information offered as such that the Committee, by majority vote, deems frivolous.

(Sec. 20) Requires the Committee to establish an investigative subcommittee whenever it votes to authorize an investigation on its own initiative.

(Sec. 21) Applies this resolution to complaints filed during this Congress.