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106th Congress 
 2d Session                      SENATE                          Report
                                                                106-348
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                       Calendar No. 689



 
                  PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION ACT OF 2000

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                S. 2705

   TO PROVIDE FOR THE TRAINING OF INDIVIDUALS, DURING A PRESIDENTIAL 
    TRANSITION, WHO THE PRESIDENT INTENDS TO APPOINT TO CERTAIN KEY 
POSITIONS, TO PROVIDE FOR A STUDY AND REPORT ON IMPROVING THE FINANCIAL 
  DISCLOSURE PROCESS FOR CERTAIN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEES, AND FOR OTHER 
                                PURPOSES




                 July 18, 2000.--Ordered to be printed
                   COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                   FRED THOMPSON, Tennessee, Chairman
WILLIAM V. ROTH, Jr., Delaware       JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, Connecticut
TED STEVENS, Alaska                  CARL LEVIN, Michigan
SUSAN M. COLLINS, Maine              DANIEL K. AKAKA, Hawaii
GEORGE VOINOVICH, Ohio               RICHARD J. DURBIN, Illinois
PETE V. DOMENICI, New Mexico         ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey
THAD COCHRAN, Mississippi            MAX CLELAND, Georgia
ARLEN SPECTER, Pennsylvania          JOHN EDWARDS, North Carolina
JUDD GREGG, New Hampshire
             Hannah S. Sistare, Staff Director and Counsel
                      Dan G. Blair, Senior Counsel
                        Robert J. Shea, Counsel
              Susan G. Marshall, Professional Staff Member
      Joyce A. Rechtschaffen, Minority Staff Director and Counsel
                   Susan E. Propper, Minority Counsel
                     Darla D. Cassell, Chief Clerk
                                                       Calendar No. 689
106th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     106-348

======================================================================




                  PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION ACT OF 2000

                                _______
                                

                 July 18, 2000.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Thompson, from the Committee on Governmental Affairs, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S.2705]

    The Committee on Governmental Affairs, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 2705) to provide for the training of 
individuals, during a Presidential transition, who the 
President intends to appoint to certain key positions, to 
provide for a study and report on improving the financial 
disclosure process for certain Presidential nominees, and for 
other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably 
thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Summary and Purpose..............................................1
 II. Background.......................................................2
III. Discussion.......................................................3
 IV. Legislative History..............................................6
  V. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................6
 VI. Regulatory Impact Statement......................................7
VII. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................7
VIII.Changes to Existing Law..........................................8


                         I. Summary and Purpose

    The purpose of S. 2705, the Presidential Transition Act of 
2000, is to improve the process by which the United States 
transitions from one Presidential Administration to the next. 
The main focus of this bill is to provide for the preparation 
of key personnel who may be part of the incoming 
administration. The bill does this in part by encouraging 
officials of former administrations, including the outgoing 
administration, to share their knowledge and experience with 
the incoming administration. With such an orientation, probable 
senior appointees will be better able to commence governing 
once the inauguration of the new President is complete.
    S. 2705 seeks to improve upon the transfer of important 
knowledge and information from one administration to the next. 
The bill provides for a more cooperative process by which key 
personnel will be prepared to take on management of the federal 
government. Allowing for consultation with campaigns regarding 
equipment for a transitions headquarters will allow transition 
planners to hit the ground running once the election is held. 
Finally, a report requested of the Office of Government Ethics 
seeks to improve the process by which appointees are nominated 
and confirmed to office.
    S. 2705 requires that the Administrator of the General 
Services Administration compile a transitions directory for the 
purposes of orienting and educating individuals a President-
elect intends to nominate as department heads or appoint to key 
positions in the Executive Office of the President. In 
addition, S. 2705 requires the Office of Government Ethics to 
study and report on ways of improving the financial disclosure 
process for certain Presidential nominees. S. 2705 also allows 
Presidential campaigns to consult with the General Services 
Administration for the purposes of preparing transition 
headquarters with the appropriate information technology. All 
of these provisions will improve the Presidential transition.

                             II. Background

    The Presidential Transition Act of 1963 (Public Law 88-277, 
3 U.S.C. 102 note) was enacted to provide for the orderly 
transfer of executive power in connection with the expiration 
of the term of office of a President and the inauguration of a 
new President. Since the time the Presidential Transition Act 
was passed, transitions have grown more complex and cumbersome, 
often leaving the new administration without the head start it 
needs to begin governing on inauguration day. As Dwight Ink, 
President Emeritus of the Institute of Public Administration, 
wrote in a statement submitted to the Committee, transitions 
``are hit-and-miss affairs that handicap a new president and 
his team in shifting from campaigning to governing, and create 
problems for the Congress.''
    The problems associated with transitions are now being 
studied by a number of private sector organizations in an 
attempt to craft solutions to shortcomings in the current 
process of transitions. In his statement introducing S. 2705, 
Senator Thompson said:

          The magnitude of the need for an effective 
        presidential transition and the recognized problems 
        with past ones have led a number of private sector 
        organizations to focus on the problem and solutions to 
        it. Several, including the Presidential Appointee 
        Initiative of the Brookings Institution, Transition to 
        Governing Project of the American Enterprise Institute 
        and Brookings, and the Heritage Foundation's Mandate 
        for Leadership 2000, have contributed to our 
        consideration of this problem. These groups and others 
        are independently preparing a body of knowledge which 
        will assist the new administration to get an effective, 
        timely start.

Notwithstanding the efforts of these groups to assist in the 
transition, several problems were brought to the attention of 
the Committee and the House Committee on Government Reform. 
They are ripe for legislative correction.
    Senator Lieberman, in introducing the bill, warned that 
``individuals without prior government experience who are 
selected for key positions may be unfamiliar with how to work 
with Congress and the media and may run the risk of missteps 
early in their tenure.'' Mr. Ink wrote in his statement to the 
Committee that new appointees ``are in danger of stumbling 
during the first crucial weeks and months of an administration, 
not so much from what they are striving to do, but from how 
they are functioning and a lack of familiarity with techniques 
that are most likely to get things done in a complex Washington 
environment.'' Therefore, Mr. Ink writes that orientations for 
new political appointees ``would help meet the critical need 
for more transition attention to how incoming political leaders 
can effectively manage the challenging processes of 
governing.'' These and other concerns led to the introduction 
of S. 2705 and H.R. 3137.

                            III. Discussion

    Section 2 of S. 2705 encompasses provisions of the House-
passed H.R. 3137, which provides for the expenditure of 
transition funds for the orientation of potential political 
appointees of a new Presidential Administration. As noted by 
Norman Ornstein, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise 
Institute, ``[P]olitical appointees often have impressive 
accomplishments including managerial skills and experience. 
Nonetheless, appointees without executive branch experience may 
not appreciate features particular to government.'' This is one 
problem S. 2705 seeks to remedy.
    Section 2 authorizes the use of transition funds for the 
purpose of providing orientation for potential appointees. The 
Committee intends that the orientations will include 
discussions between staff of an incoming administration and 
staff of prior administrations, including the outgoing 
administration, in order to give new staff the benefit of the 
experience of staff from former administrations. The Committee 
believes that the most beneficial format for such orientations 
would be informal discussions and workshops coordinated by the 
General Services Administration.
    In addition to authorizing the types of orientations 
described above, S. 2705 also authorizes education in ``records 
management.'' The bill provides for expected key officials of 
the incoming administration to receive training in records 
management controls in order to assure that the activities, 
deliberations, decisions, and policies of the President are 
adequately documented and that such records are maintained as 
Presidential records pursuant to the requirements of section 
2203 of title 44, United States Code.
    Incoming appointees also need to be apprised of some key 
efforts underway to improve how the federal government 
functions. One of the strongest trends in the management of the 
federal government is the move to performance-based government. 
Instead of judging government performance on the basis of the 
amount of money that is spent or the number of activities that 
are conducted, every federal program should be judged on 
whether or not strategies and approaches produce real, tangible 
results. Implementation of the Government Performance and 
Results Act, because it requires performance-based management, 
continues to be a priority of this Committee, and orientations 
of the incoming administration should include a careful review 
of this important legislation.
    A crisis currently confronting the federal government is 
the recruitment, management and retention of quality personnel. 
Comptroller General David Walker testified before the Committee 
regarding the current personnel management practices of the 
federal government, encouraged the Executive Branch to ``take 
steps to align our human capital management policies and 
practices with modern performance management principles.'' As 
the Committee agrees strongly that effective human capital 
management is critically important, S. 2705 authorizes 
executive orientations to include careful analysis of human 
capital management issues.
    Staff of an incoming administration are confronted by an 
overwhelming amount of material. To assist in navigating the 
many responsibilities that fall on a new administration, it is 
the Committee's intent that the Administrator of the General 
Services Administration work with the Archivist of the National 
Archives and Records Administration to develop a ``Transition 
Directory'' to aid the President-elect and incoming 
Administration appointees. This Directory should be a 
compilation of current Federal materials outlining the 
organization, and statutory and administrative authorities, 
functions, duties, responsibilities and mission of each 
department and agency.
    To ensure that the new administration's transition team can 
hit the ground running with an infrastructure sufficient to 
meet its needs in organizing the new government, S. 2705 
provides that the General Services Administration should 
consult with the campaigns to develop an information technology 
systems architecture plan--for the design of computer and 
communications systems--for the offices in which the transition 
will be housed. This provision allows for basic computer and 
communications equipment to be available for the use of the 
transition soon after the election. The provision of S. 2705 
allowing for the consultation between campaigns and the General 
Services Administration on technical matters with respect to 
the transition headquarters should encourage pre-election 
transition planning.
    Section 3 of the bill directs the Office of Government 
Ethics to conduct a study and submit a report on improving the 
financial disclosure process required of presidential nominees 
under section 101(b) of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978. 
This provision of the bill addresses growing concerns regarding 
the barriers to service embedded in the current presidential 
appointments process. The Committee believes that the study can 
help lead to simple changes in the disclosure process to reduce 
some of those barriers. At the same time, the Committee intends 
that the study, and its recommendations, seek to bolster the 
purpose of the Ethics in Government Act, which is to disclose 
conflicts of interest that may be found in the financial or 
other information required to be disclosed under the Act.
    There is no question that filling out the informational 
forms, including the various financial disclosure documents, 
imposes burdens on appointees and creates delays in the 
appointments process. According to a survey of 435 Reagan, 
Bush, and Clinton administration appointees conducted under the 
auspices of the Presidential Appointee Initiative by the 
Brookings Institution and Heritage Foundation last winter, 
substantial numbers of recent appointees found these forms 
difficult to complete and a source of delay in their nomination 
and confirmation. Nearly a third of the appointees interviewed 
in the survey characterized these forms as either somewhat or 
very difficult to fill out, and almost half sought outside help 
for accounting or financial aspects of the process. According 
to the Presidential Appointee Initiative survey, one-fifth of 
appointees reported spending more than $6,000 on outside help 
and another one-fifth spent between $1,000 and $5,000.
    There is also sound evidence that the process has become 
more difficult over the years as both the number and complexity 
of forms has increased. Also according to the Presidential 
Appointee Initiative, more than a third of the Reagan, Bush, 
and Clinton appointees said the process of filling out 
financial disclosure and other information forms took longer 
than necessary, compared to slightly more than a tenth of the 
appointees who served from 1964-1984.
    Given the difficulty and delays, it is no surprise that 
almost 40 percent of the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton appointees 
responding to the Presidential Appointee Initiative survey said 
that the disclosure process either ``goes too far'' or is ``not 
very reasonable.'' Not only does this process ask for the same 
financial and personal information in different formats, 
thereby creating unnecessary burdens on appointees to re-supply 
the same data, it appears to seek information on financial 
holdings that may not necessarily serve the overall purpose of 
identifying and curing conflicts of interest.
    There is reason to believe that the current disclosure 
process can be improved through careful streamlining, 
coordination, and elimination of duplication without lessening 
the substantive compliance with any conflict of interest 
requirement. The result of this effort should be an increased 
willingness among America's most talented citizens to accept 
presidential appointments, as well as greater confidence that 
potential conflicts of interest are made visible and cured.
    S. 2705 directs the Office of Government Ethics to conduct 
a thorough study of the current array of financial information 
collected from presidential appointees as part of the 
nomination and confirmation process. This study should include 
an examination of appointments subject to the Ethics in 
Government Act, including appointments to advisory boards and 
commissions, and should begin with an inventory of all 
information currently requested of presidential nominees. Among 
the topics the study might address are the following 
suggestions:
    1. Focusing specifically on the financial disclosure forms, 
what might be done to make the forms easier to complete? Which 
items are particularly difficult to fill out? Which are the 
most likely to cause a nominee to seek outside assistance? What 
might be done to reduce those difficulties and costs without 
reducing compliance with the Ethics in Government Act?
    2. Do the current financial disclosure laws require too 
much detail regarding the value of an asset and the amount of 
income generated from that asset? Is such level of detail 
necessary to determine whether the appointee has a conflict of 
interest? To what extent do our disclosure requirements seek 
information that is unlikely to be used to resolve conflicts of 
interest?
    3. What is the current status of efforts to create on-line 
versions of the standard forms?
    With this study completed, section 3(a) of the bill directs 
the Office of Government Ethics to make recommendations 
regarding the streamlining, standardizing, and coordinating of 
the financial disclosure process, as well as the specific 
reporting requirements, under the Ethics in Government Act of 
1978 (5 U.S.C. App.) for Presidential nominees. As such, the 
Committee is concerned with both the ways in which information 
is collected and the kinds of information requested. The 
Committee is particularly interested in eliminating any 
duplication of effort and any requests for information that do 
not advance the faithful implementation of the Ethics in 
Government Act.
    Section 3(b) of the bill directs the Office of Government 
Ethics to make recommendations that are intended to avoid any 
duplication with respect to financial disclosure of 
information. The intent of this section is that, if possible, 
no presidential appointee should be asked to supply the same 
information more than once in the Executive Branch clearance 
process.
    Finally, Section 3(c) invites the Office of Government 
Ethics to think broadly of the need for recommendations that 
might improve the presidential appointments process.
    The Committee encourages the Office of Government Ethics to 
seek the counsel of the American Enterprise Institute, 
Brookings Institution, Council on Excellence in Government, 
Heritage Foundation, the Presidential Appointee Initiative, and 
any other nongovernmental organizations it deems appropriate 
regarding the study and recommendations requested under Section 
3.

                        IV. Legislative History

    S. 2705 was introduced on June 8, 2000, by Chairman 
Thompson on behalf of himself, Senator Lieberman, Senator 
Akaka, Senator Collins, Senator Durbin, Senator Levin, and 
Senator Voinovich. The Committee on Governmental Affairs 
considered the bill on June 14, 2000, and ordered the bill 
reported by voice vote. H.R. 3137, the provisions of which are 
encompassed in S. 2705, passed the House of Representatives by 
voice vote on November 2, 1999.

                     V. Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1 provides that the bill may be cited as the 
``Presidential Transition Act of 2000.''
    Section 2 amends the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 (3 
U.S.C. 102 note) to provide for the use of transition funds for 
the purpose of providing orientations for individuals the 
President-elect plans to nominate and appoint to top White 
House positions, including Cabinet positions. This legislation 
only affects the key political appointments in the executive 
branch agencies and in the Executive Office of the President, 
and the committee expects that the orientation process would 
begin before the incoming President assumes office.
    Section 2 specifically authorizes the training or 
orientation of the individuals the President-elect plans to 
nominate and appoint to top White House and/or Executive Branch 
positions with respect to records management, human resources 
management and performance-based management.
    Section 2 requires the Administrator of the General 
Services Administration to work with the Archivist of the 
National Archives and Records Administration to prepare a 
transitions directory for the purposes of training of 
individuals a President-elect intends to nominate as department 
heads or appoint to key positions in the Executive Office of 
the President.
    Section 2 also authorizes GSA to consult with campaign 
organizations about the information technology systems 
architecture to be installed in transition offices after a 
general election.
    Section 3 requires the Office of Government Ethics to 
prepare a report on the current appointments process and make 
suggestions about easing the burden of financial disclosure on 
Executive Branch nominees. Specifically, the language requires 
an examination of ways to streamline and standardize financial 
disclosure required by various Executive Branch organizations. 
The legislation would clearly establish that nothing OGE 
recommends should be considered to lessen the disclosure or 
weaken the examination for conflicts of interest.

                         VI. Regulatory Impact

    Pursuant to paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, the Committee has considered the 
regulatory impact that would be incurred in carrying out the 
bill. The Committee finds that enactment of the bill will not 
have significant regulatory impact.

             VII. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, June 21, 2000.
Hon. Fred Thompson,
Chairman, Committee on Governmental Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 2705, the 
Presidential Transition Act of 2000.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is John R. 
Righter.
            Sincerely,
                                           Steven Lieberman
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

S. 2705--Presidential Transition Act of 2000

    S. 2705 would clarify that a newly elected President may 
use funds authorized under the Presidential Transition Act of 
1963 to provide training to individuals that he or she intends 
to nominate as department heads or appoint to key positions in 
the Executive Office of the President. The bill also would 
direct the General Services Administration (GSA) to develop a 
transition directory for the incoming Administration. The 
directory would include information on each department and 
agency, as well as important federal publications. Finally, the 
bill would direct the Office of Government Ethics to report on 
ways to streamline and standardize the financial disclosure 
process for incoming Administration appointees.
    Subject to the availability of funds, CBO estimates that 
implementing the bill would increase the costs of a 
Presidential transition by less than $500,000. (The current 
Administration has requested $7.1 million for transition costs 
in 2001.) Our estimate of incremental cost assumes that the 
training authorized by S. 2705 would apply to relatively few 
individuals and that the transition directory would largely 
compile information from existing publications and materials.
    Because the bill would not affect direct spending or 
receipts, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply. S. 2705 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not 
affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact is John R. Righter. This estimate was 
approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.

                      VII. Changes to Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
S. 2705 as reported are shown as follows (existing law proposed 
to be omitted is enclosed in brackets, new matter is printed in 
italic, and existing law in which no change is proposed is 
shown in roman):

                           UNITED STATES CODE

                         TITLE 3--THE PRESIDENT

                   CHAPTER 2--OFFICE AND COMPENSATION


Sec. 102. Compensation of the President

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 1 * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



                              Sec. 3 * * *

    (a) The Administrator of General Services, referred to 
hereafter in this Act as ``the Administrator,'' is authorized 
to provide, upon request, to each President-elect and each 
Vice-President-elect, for use in connection with his 
preparations for the assumption of official duties as President 
or Vice President necessary services and facilities, 
[including] including the following--
          (1) * * * at such place or places within the United 
        States as the President-elect or Vice-President-elect 
        shall designate[;].
          (2) * * * and the Federal employees Health Benefits 
        Act of 1959[;].
          (3) * * * as amended[;].
          (4) * * * as may be appropriate[;].
          (5) * * * or Vice-President-elect[;].
          (6) * * * as amended[;].
          (7) * * *
          (8)(A)(i) Payment of expenses during the transition 
        for briefings, workshops, or other activities to 
        acquaint key prospective Presidential appointees with 
        the types of problems and challenges that most 
        typically confront new political appointees when they 
        make the transition from campaign and other prior 
        activities to assuming the responsibility for 
        governance after inauguration.
          (ii) Activities under this paragraph may include 
        interchange between such appointees and individuals 
        who--
                  (I) held similar leadership roles in prior 
                administrations;
                  (II) are department or agency experts from 
                the Office of Management and Budget or and 
                Office of Inspector General of a department or 
                agency; or
                  (III) are relevant staff from the General 
                Accounting Office.
          (iii) Activities under this paragraph may include 
        training in records management to comply with section 
        2203 of title 44, United States Code, including 
        training on the separation of Presidential records and 
        personal records to comply with subsection (b) of that 
        section.
          (iv) Activities under this paragraph may include 
        training in human resources management and performance-
        based management.
          (B) Activities under this paragraph shall be 
        conducted primarily for individuals the President-elect 
        intends to nominate as department heads or appoint to 
        key positions in the Executive Office of the President.
          (9)(A) Development of a transition directory by the 
        Administrator for activities conducted under paragraph 
        (8).
          (B) The transition directory shall be a compilation 
        of Federal publications and materials with 
        supplementary materials developed by the Administrator 
        that provides information on the officers, 
        organization, and statutory and administrative 
        authorities, functions, duties, responsibilities, and 
        mission of each department and agency.
          (10)(A) Notwithstanding subsection (b), consultation 
        by the Administrator with any candidate for President 
        or Vice President to develop a systems architecture 
        plan for the computer and communications systems of the 
        candidate to coordinate a transition to Federal 
        systems, if the candidate is elected.
    (b) Consultations under this paragraph shall be conducted 
at the discretion of the Administrator.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *