Text: S.1900 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 105-186 (06/23/1998)
[105th Congress Public Law 186]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[[Page 112 STAT. 611]]
Public Law 105-186
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.
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
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
(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
(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
(C) two shall be Members of the House of
Representatives, appointed by the Speaker of the House
(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
(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
(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);
(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
(2) Types of assets.--Assets described in this paragraph
(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
(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
(ii) The value of each policy at the time of
(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
(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
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
(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
[[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
(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;
(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
(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
(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
(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
June 10, Senate concurred in House amendment.
WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 34 (1998):
June 23, Presidential statement.