Summary: S.434 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate without amendment (11/17/2016)

(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The expanded summary of the Senate reported version is repeated here.)

Security Clearance Accountability, Reform, and Enhancement Act of 2015

TITLE I--SECURITY CLEARANCE ACCOUNTABILITY, REFORM, AND ENHANCEMENT

(Sec. 102) This bill: (1) deems a federal agency employee to be unfit for federal employment if the agency determines that the employee has engaged in misconduct affecting the integrity of a background investigation, including falsification of any information relating to such an investigation (covered misconduct); (2) prohibits an individual who has engaged in covered misconduct from being appointed to or continuing to occupy a position that requires the performance of background investigations; (3) extends such sanctions to employees performing background investigations under a contract between an agency and a prime contractor and subcontractors (covered contract); and (4) requires a covered contract to include provisions requiring mandatory disclosure of covered misconduct within 24 hours after the contractor discovers such misconduct and referral to the agency for investigation.

The President must report annually to Congress on: (1) the number of individuals determined to be unfit for federal employment due to covered misconduct or ineligible to perform work under a covered contract, and (2) the details of such misconduct.

(Sec. 103) The President must: (1) review and update guidance to assist agencies in determining position sensitivity designation and the appropriate background investigation to initiate for each position designation; (2) review, not less frequently than every five years, and revise the position designation of positions within federal agencies; and (3) report on any issues identified and the number of position designations revised as a result of the review.

TITLE II--PREVENTING CONFLICTS OF INTEREST WITH CONTRACTORS

(Sec. 202) The bill provides that a contract may not be entered into, and an extension of or option on a contract may not be exercised, with a contractor to conduct a quality review process relating to background investigation fieldwork or support services if the contractor is performing the services to be reviewed.

The bill defines:

  • "background investigation fieldwork services" as the investigatory fieldwork conducted to determine the eligibility of an individual for logical and physical access to federally-controlled facilities or information systems, suitability or fitness for federal employment, eligibility for access to classified information or to hold a national security sensitive position, or fitness to perform work for or on behalf of the federal government as a contractor or employee, including interviews with individuals who might have relevant knowledge of the individual and reviews of educational and employment records, criminal and other legal records, and credit history; and
  • "quality review process" as performing the final quality review of a background investigation to ensure that investigative, administrative, and other required standards have been met before the completed background investigation is delivered to the adjudicating agency (i.e., the agency that requested the background check and that has final decision-making authority).