Text: S.1900 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 105-186 (06/23/1998)

 
[105th Congress Public Law 186]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


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[DOCID: f:publ186.105]


[[Page 112 STAT. 611]]

Public Law 105-186
105th Congress

                                 An Act


 
     To establish a commission to examine issues pertaining to the 
disposition of Holocaust-era assets in the United States before, during, 
and after World War II, and to make recommendations to the President on 
  further action, and for other purposes. <<NOTE: June 23, 1998 -  [S. 
                                1900]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: U.S. Holocaust 
Assets Commission Act of 1998.>> 

SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 22 USC 1621 note.>> SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``U.S. Holocaust Assets Commission Act 
of 1998''.

SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 22 USC 1621 note.>> ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMISSION.

    (a) Establishment.--There is established a Presidential Commission, 
to be known as the ``Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust 
Assets in the United States'' (hereafter in this Act referred to as the 
``Commission'').
    (b) <<NOTE: President. Congress.>> Membership.--
            (1) Number.--The Commission shall be composed of 21 members, 
        appointed in accordance with paragraph (2).
            (2) Appointments.--Of the 21 members of the Commission--
                    (A) eight shall be private citizens, appointed by 
                the President;
                    (B) four shall be representatives of the Department 
                of State, the Department of Justice, the Department of 
                the Army, and the Department of the Treasury (one 
                representative of each such Department), appointed by 
                the President;
                    (C) two shall be Members of the House of 
                Representatives, appointed by the Speaker of the House 
                of Representatives;
                    (D) two shall be Members of the House of 
                Representatives, appointed by the minority leader of the 
                House of Representatives;
                    (E) two shall be Members of the Senate, appointed by 
                the majority leader of the Senate;
                    (F) two shall be Members of the Senate, appointed by 
                the minority leader of the Senate; and
                    (G) one shall be the Chairperson of the United 
                States Holocaust Memorial Council.
            (3) Criteria for membership.--Each private citizen appointed 
        to the Commission shall be an individual who has a record of 
        demonstrated leadership on issues relating to the Holocaust or 
        in the fields of commerce, culture, or education

[[Page 112 STAT. 612]]

        that would assist the Commission in analyzing the disposition of 
        the assets of Holocaust victims.
            (4) Advisory panels.--The Chairperson of the Commission may, 
        in the discretion of the Chairperson, establish advisory panels 
        to the Commission, including State or local officials, 
        representatives of organizations having an interest in the work 
        of the Commission, or others having expertise that is relevant 
        to the purposes of the Commission.
            (5) <<NOTE: Deadline.>> Date.--The appointments of the 
        members of the Commission shall be made not later than 90 days 
        after the date of enactment of this Act.

    (c) <<NOTE: President.>> Chairperson.--The Chairperson of the 
Commission shall be selected by the President from among the members of 
the Commission appointed under subparagraph (A) or (B) of subsection 
(b)(2).

    (d) Period of Appointment.--Members of the Commission shall be 
appointed for the life of the Commission.
    (e) Vacancies.--Any vacancy in the membership of the Commission 
shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner as 
the original appointment.
    (f) Meetings.--The Commission shall meet at the call of the 
Chairperson at any time after the date of appointment of the 
Chairperson.
    (g) Quorum.--11 members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, 
but a lesser number of members may hold meetings.

SEC. 3. <<NOTE: 22 USC 1621 note.>> DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION.

    (a) Original Research.--
            (1) In general.--Except as otherwise provided in paragraph 
        (3), the Commission shall conduct a thorough study and develop a 
        historical record of the collection and disposition of the 
        assets described in paragraph (2), if such assets came into the 
        possession or control of the Federal Government, including the 
        Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and any Federal 
        reserve bank, at any time after January 30, 1933--
                    (A) after having been obtained from victims of the 
                Holocaust by, on behalf of, or under authority of a 
                government referred to in subsection (c);
                    (B) because such assets were left unclaimed as the 
                result of actions taken by, on behalf of, or under 
                authority of a government referred to in subsection (c); 
                or
                    (C) in the case of assets consisting of gold 
                bullion, monetary gold, or similar assets, after such 
                assets had been obtained by the Nazi government of 
                Germany from governmental institutions in any area 
                occupied by the military forces of the Nazi government 
                of Germany.
            (2) Types of assets.--Assets described in this paragraph 
        include--
                    (A) gold, including gold bullion, monetary gold, or 
                similar assets in the possession of or under the control 
                of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System 
                or any Federal reserve bank;
                    (B) gems, jewelry, and nongold precious metals;
                    (C) accounts in banks in the United States;
                    (D) domestic financial instruments purchased before 
                May 8, 1945, by individual victims of the Holocaust,

[[Page 112 STAT. 613]]

                whether recorded in the name of the victim or in the 
                name of a nominee;
                    (E) insurance policies and proceeds thereof;
                    (F) real estate situated in the United States;
                    (G) works of art; and
                    (H) books, manuscripts, and religious objects.
            (3) Coordination of activities.--In carrying out its duties 
        under paragraph (1), the Commission shall, to the maximum extent 
        practicable, coordinate its activities with, and not duplicate 
        similar activities already being undertaken by, private 
        individuals, private entities, or government entities, whether 
        domestic or foreign.
            (4) Insurance policies.--
                    (A) <<NOTE: Reports.>> In general.--In carrying out 
                its duties under this Act, the Commission shall take 
                note of the work of the National Association of 
                Insurance Commissioners with regard to Holocaust-era 
                insurance issues and shall encourage the National 
                Association of Insurance Commissioners to prepare a 
                report on the Holocaust-related claims practices of all 
                insurance companies, both domestic and foreign, doing 
                business in the United States at any time after January 
                30, 1933, that issued any individual life, health, or 
                property-casualty insurance policy to any individual on 
                any list of Holocaust victims, including the following 
                lists:
                          (i) The list maintained by the United States 
                      Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., of 
                      Jewish Holocaust survivors.
                          (ii) The list maintained by the Yad Vashem 
                      Holocaust Memorial Authority in its Hall of Names 
                      of individuals who died in the Holocaust.
                    (B) Information to be included.--The report on 
                insurance companies prepared pursuant to subparagraph 
                (A) should include the following, to the degree the 
                information is available:
                          (i) The number of policies issued by each 
                      company to individuals described in such 
                      subparagraph.
                          (ii) The value of each policy at the time of 
                      issue.
                          (iii) The total number of policies, and the 
                      dollar amount, that have been paid out.
                          (iv) The total present-day value of assets in 
                      the United States of each company.
                    (C) Coordination.--The Commission shall coordinate 
                its work on insurance issues with that of the 
                international Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era 
                Assets, to be convened by the Department of State and 
                the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

    (b) Comprehensive Review of Other Research.--Upon receiving 
permission from any relevant individuals or entities, the Commission 
shall review comprehensively any research by private individuals, 
private entities, and non-Federal government entities, whether domestic 
or foreign, into the collection and disposition of the assets described 
in subsection (a)(2), to the extent that such research focuses on assets 
that came into the possession or control of private individuals, private 
entities, or non-Federal government entities within the United States at 
any time after January 30, 1933, either--

[[Page 112 STAT. 614]]

            (1) after having been obtained from victims of the Holocaust 
        by, on behalf of, or under authority of a government referred to 
        in subsection (c); or
            (2) because such assets were left unclaimed as the result of 
        actions taken by, on behalf of, or under authority of a 
        government referred to in subsection (c).

    (c) Governments Included.--A government referred to in this 
subsection includes, as in existence during the period beginning on 
March 23, 1933, and ending on May 8, 1945--
            (1) the Nazi government of Germany;
            (2) any government in any area occupied by the military 
        forces of the Nazi government of Germany;
            (3) any government established with the assistance or 
        cooperation of the Nazi government of Germany; and
            (4) any government which was an ally of the Nazi government 
        of Germany.

    (d) Reports.--
            (1) Submission to the president.--Not later than December 
        31, 1999, the Commission shall submit a final report to the 
        President that shall contain any recommendations for such 
        legislative, administrative, or other action as it deems 
        necessary or appropriate. The Commission may submit interim 
        reports to the President as it deems appropriate.
            (2) Submission to the congress.--After receipt of the final 
        report under paragraph (1), the President shall submit to the 
        Congress any recommendations for legislative, administrative, or 
        other action that the President considers necessary or 
        appropriate.

SEC. 4. <<NOTE: 22 USC 1621 note.>> POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.

    (a) Hearings.--The Commission may hold such hearings, sit and act at 
such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such evidence as 
the Commission considers advisable to carry out this Act.
    (b) Information From Federal Agencies.--The Commission may secure 
directly from any Federal department or agency such information as the 
Commission considers necessary to carry out this Act. Upon request of 
the Chairperson of the Commission, the head of any such department or 
agency shall furnish such information to the Commission as expeditiously 
as possible.
    (c) Postal Services.--The Commission may use the United States mails 
in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments 
and agencies of the Federal Government.
    (d) Gifts.--The Commission may accept, use, and dispose of gifts or 
donations of services or property.
    (e) Administrative Services.--For the purposes of obtaining 
administrative services necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act, 
including the leasing of real property for use by the Commission as an 
office, the Commission shall have the power to--
            (1) enter into contracts and modify, or consent to the 
        modification of, any contract or agreement to which the 
        Commission is a party; and
            (2) acquire, hold, lease, maintain, or dispose of real and 
        personal property.

[[Page 112 STAT. 615]]

SEC. 5. <<NOTE: 22 USC 1621 note.>> COMMISSION PERSONNEL MATTERS.

    (a) Compensation.--No member of the Commission who is a private 
citizen shall be compensated for service on the Commission. All members 
of the Commission who are officers or employees of the United States 
shall serve without compensation in addition to that received for their 
services as officers or employees of the United States.
    (b) Travel Expenses.--The members of the Commission shall be allowed 
travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates 
authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of 
title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular 
places of business in the performance of services for the Commission.
    (c) Executive Director, Deputy Executive Director, General Counsel, 
and Other Staff.--
            (1) <<NOTE: Deadline.>> In general.--Not later than 90 days 
        after the selection of the Chairperson of the Commission under 
        section 2, the Chairperson shall, without regard to the civil 
        service laws and regulations, appoint an executive director, a 
        deputy executive director, and a general counsel of the 
        Commission, and such other additional personnel as may be 
        necessary to enable the Commission to perform its duties under 
        this Act.
            (2) Qualifications.--The executive director, deputy 
        executive director, and general counsel of the Commission shall 
        be appointed without regard to political affiliation, and shall 
        possess all necessary security clearances for such positions.
            (3) Duties of executive director.--The executive director of 
        the Commission shall--
                    (A) serve as principal liaison between the 
                Commission and other Government entities;
                    (B) be responsible for the administration and 
                coordination of the review of records by the Commission; 
                and
                    (C) be responsible for coordinating all official 
                activities of the Commission.
            (4) Compensation.--The Chairperson of the Commission may fix 
        the compensation of the executive director, deputy executive 
        director, general counsel, and other personnel employed by the 
        Commission, without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and 
        subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code, 
        relating to classification of positions and General Schedule pay 
        rates, except that--
                    (A) the rate of pay for the executive director of 
                the Commission may not exceed the rate payable for level 
                III of the Executive Schedule under section 5314 of 
                title 5, United States Code; and
                    (B) the rate of pay for the deputy executive 
                director, the general counsel of the Commission, and 
                other Commission personnel may not exceed the rate 
                payable for level IV of the Executive Schedule under 
                section 5315 of title 5, United States Code.
            (5) Employee benefits.--
                    (A) In general.--An employee of the Commission shall 
                be an employee for purposes of chapters 83, 84, 85, 87, 
                and 89 of title 5, United States Code, and service as an 
                employee of the Commission shall be service for purposes 
                of such chapters.

[[Page 112 STAT. 616]]

                    (B) Nonapplication to members.--This paragraph shall 
                not apply to a member of the Commission.
            (6) Office of personnel management.--The Office of Personnel 
        Management--
                    (A) may promulgate regulations to apply the 
                provisions referred to under subsection (a) to employees 
                of the Commission; and
                    (B) shall provide support services, on a 
                reimbursable basis, relating to--
                          (i) the initial employment of employees of the 
                      Commission; and
                          (ii) other personnel needs of the Commission.

    (d) Detail of Government Employees.--Any Federal Government employee 
may be detailed to the Commission without reimbursement to the agency of 
that employee, and such detail shall be without interruption or loss of 
civil service status or privilege.
    (e) Procurement of Temporary and Intermittent Services.--The 
Chairperson of the Commission may procure temporary and intermittent 
services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, at rates 
for individuals which do not exceed the daily equivalent of the annual 
rate of basic pay prescribed for level V of the Executive Schedule under 
section 5316 of such title.
    (f) Staff Qualifications.--Any person appointed to the staff of or 
employed by the Commission shall be an individual of integrity and 
impartiality.
    (g) Conditional Employment.--
            (1) In general.--The Commission may offer employment on a 
        conditional basis to a prospective employee pending the 
        completion of any necessary security clearance background 
        investigation. During the pendency of any such investigation, 
        the Commission shall ensure that such conditional employee is 
        not given and does not have access to or responsibility 
        involving classified or otherwise restricted material.
            (2) Termination.--If a person hired on a conditional basis 
        as described in paragraph (1) is denied or otherwise does not 
        qualify for all security clearances necessary for the 
        fulfillment of the responsibilities of that person as an 
        employee of the Commission, the Commission shall immediately 
        terminate the employment of that person with the Commission.

    (h) Expedited Security Clearance Procedures.--A candidate for 
executive director or deputy executive director of the Commission and 
any potential employee of the Commission shall, to the maximum extent 
possible, be investigated or otherwise evaluated for and granted, if 
applicable, any necessary security clearances on an expedited basis.

SEC. 6. <<NOTE: 22 USC 1621 note.>> ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT SERVICES.

    Upon the request of the Commission, the Administrator of General 
Services shall provide to the Commission, on a reimbursable basis, the 
administrative support services necessary for the Commission to carry 
out its responsibilities under this Act.

SEC. 7. <<NOTE: 22 USC 1621 note.>> TERMINATION OF THE COMMISSION.

    The Commission shall terminate 90 days after the date on which the 
Commission submits its final report under section 3.

[[Page 112 STAT. 617]]

SEC. 8. <<NOTE: 22 USC 1621 note.>> MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS.

    (a) Inapplicability of FACA.--The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 
U.S.C. App.) does not apply to the Commission.
    (b) Public Attendance.--To the maximum extent practicable, each 
meeting of the Commission shall be open to members of the public.

SEC. 9. <<NOTE: 22 USC 1621 note.>> AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    There are authorized to be appropriated not more than $3,500,000, in 
total, for the interagency funding of activities of the Commission under 
this Act for fiscal years 1998, 1999, and 2000, of which, 
notwithstanding section 1346 of title 31, United States Code, and 
section 611 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 
1998, $537,000 shall be made available in equal amounts from funds made 
available for fiscal year 1998 to the Departments of Justice, State, and 
the Army that are otherwise unobligated. Funds made available to the 
Commission pursuant to this section shall remain available for 
obligation until December 31, 1999.

    Approved June 23, 1998.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 1900 (H.R. 3662):
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 144 (1998):
            May 1, considered and passed Senate.
            June 9, considered and passed House, amended, in lieu of 
                H.R. 3662.
            June 10, Senate concurred in House amendment.
WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 34 (1998):
            June 23, Presidential statement.

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