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115th Congress    }                                       {     Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                       {    115-332

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

 
   TO PROTECT THE SAFETY OF JUDGES BY EXTENDING THE AUTHORITY OF THE 
JUDICIAL CONFERENCE TO REDACT SENSITIVE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THEIR 
          FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REPORTS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

                                _______
                                

 September 26, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Goodlatte, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 3229]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 3229) to protect the safety of judges by extending 
the authority of the Judicial Conference to redact sensitive 
information contained in their financial disclosure reports, 
and for other purposes, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill 
do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     3
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     3
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     3
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     4
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     4
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     5
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................     5
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     5
Agency Views.....................................................     6
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     8

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 3229 extends the current redaction authority for 
certain judicial public disclosure filings for another ten 
years until December 31, 2027.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    Under the Ethics in Government Act, federal judges are 
required to make annual financial disclosures similar to those 
made by Members of Congress, senior government officials, and 
certain Congressional staff. There have been longstanding 
security concerns related to federal judges being targeted by 
those who appear before them. Federal judges were assassinated 
in 1979, 1988, and 1989 and the spouse and mother of a federal 
judge were killed in 2005 by a disgruntled medical malpractice 
litigant. Individuals targeting judges for harassment have also 
been known to file false liens on property owned by judges and 
their families. Harassers could use judicial financial 
disclosure reports to more easily identify such property.
    In 1998, authority was given to the Judicial Conference to 
redact for the following three years, at the request of 
individual judges, portions of their financial disclosure 
information that could be used to target judges where an actual 
threat exists.\1\ An example of this would be a home address or 
the address of a vacation home, but not the name of the company 
holding the mortgage on that property. A judge who seeks 
redaction must request it from a committee of the Judicial 
Conference which then determines whether or not the request is 
warranted based upon input from the U.S. Marshals Service.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\P.L. 105-318.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This judge-only redaction authority was then extended to 
2005 by P.L. 107-126. To respond to threats against family 
members, P.L. 110-24 extended the scope of the redaction 
authority to cover the information of immediate family members. 
Under the expanded redaction authority, information that could 
potentially be used by someone seeking to harm a judge's 
family, such as the work location of a spouse or child of a 
judge with active threats on their life, could also now be 
redacted. The same legislation also extended the authority 
until 2009. Under broader court security legislation enacted 
later in 2008, redaction authority was further extended until 
2011.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\P.L. 110-177.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Finally in 2011, P.L. 112-84 extended redaction authority 
to December 31, 2017. The 2011 bill was reported out of the 
House Judiciary Committee by a voice vote and it passed on the 
House floor by a vote of 384-0. Previous reauthorizations have 
similarly been uncontroversial with the only issue being how 
long should the extension be and/or should it simply be 
permanent. Although the House has consistently supported 
permanent reauthorization, H.R. 3229 extends the existing 
redaction authority for ten years until December 31, 2027, due 
to previous opposition to a permanent reauthorization by the 
Senate.

                                Hearings

    The Committee on the Judiciary held no hearings on H.R. 
3229.

                        Committee Consideration

    On September 7, 2017, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered the bill H.R. 3229 favorably reported without 
amendment, by voice vote, a quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that there 
were no recorded votes during the Committee's consideration of 
H.R. 3229.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does 
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax 
expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, H.R. 3229 the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                Washington, DC, September 18, 2017.
Hon. Bob Goodlatte, Chairman,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3229, a bill to 
protect the safety of judges by extending the authority of the 
Judicial Conference to redact sensitive information contained 
in their financial disclosure reports, and for other purposes.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Janani 
Shankaran, who can be reached at 226-2860.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
Enclosure.
        cc: Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
           Ranking Member

  H.R. 3229--A bill to protect the safety of judges by extending the 
 authority of the Judicial Conference to redact sensitive information 
    contained in their financial disclosure reports, and for other 
                               purposes.


    As ordered reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary on 
                           September 7, 2017.




    The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires certain 
government officials to file public disclosures of their 
financial and employment history. H.R. 3229 would extend 
through 2027 the authority of the Judicial Conference to redact 
sensitive information contained in financial disclosure reports 
of judicial officers and employees if the Judicial Conference 
determines that such disclosure could endanger the individual. 
Under current law, that authority expires on December 31, 2017.
    Based on information from the Administrative Office of the 
United States Courts regarding the number of requests to redact 
sensitive information, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 
3229 would have no significant effect on the federal budget. 
Enacting H.R. 3229 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3229 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 3229 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.
    On August 16, 2017, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for S. 
1584 as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Homeland 
Security and Governmental Affairs on July 26, 2017. The bills 
are similar, and CBO's estimates of the budgetary effects are 
the same.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Janani 
Shankaran. The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of H.R. 3229 establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the Federal government known to be duplicative of 
another Federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that H.R. 3229 specifically directs 
to be completed no specific rule makings within the meaning of 
5 U.S.C. 551.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, H.R. 
3229, extends the existing judicial redaction authority for an 
additional ten years.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 3229 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of Rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    The following discussion describes the bill as reported by 
the Committee.
    Section 1. Section 1 amends Section 105(b)(3) of the Ethics 
in Government Act of 1978, found at 5 U.S.C. App., by striking 
the existing expiration year of 2017 and replacing it with 
2027, thereby extending the existing judicial redaction 
authority until December 31, 2027.


         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

ETHICS IN GOVERNMENT ACT OF 1978

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



TITLE I--FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS OF FEDERAL PERSONNEL

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



                CUSTODY OF AND PUBLIC ACCESS TO REPORTS

  Sec. 105. (a) Each agency, each supervising ethics office in 
the executive or judicial branch, the Clerk of the House of 
Representatives, and the Secretary of the Senate shall make 
available to the public, in accordance with subsection (b), 
each report filed under this title with such agency or office 
or with the Clerk or the Secretary of the Senate, except that--
          (1) this section does not require public availability 
        of a report filed by any individual in the Office of 
        the Director of National Intelligence, the Central 
        Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, 
        the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or the 
        National Security Agency, or any individual engaged in 
        intelligence activities in any agency of the United 
        States, if the President finds or has found that, due 
        to the nature of the office or position occupied by 
        such individual, public disclosure of such report 
        would, be revealing the identity of the individual or 
        other sensitive information, compromise the national 
        interest of the United States; and such individuals may 
        be authorized, notwithstanding section 104(a), to file 
        such additional reports as are necessary to protect 
        their identity from public disclosure if the President 
        first finds or has found that such filing is necessary 
        in the national interest; and
          (2) any report filed by an independent counsel whose 
        identity has not been disclosed by the division of the 
        court under chapter 40 of title 28, United States Code, 
        and any report filed by any person appointed by that 
        independent counsel under such chapter, shall not be 
        made available to the public under this title.
  (b)(1) Except as provided in the second sentence of this 
subsection, each agency, each supervising ethics office in the 
executive or judicial branch, the Clerk of the House of 
Representatives, and the Secretary of the Senate shall, within 
thirty days after any report is received under this title by 
such agency or office or by the Clerk or the Secretary of the 
Senate, as the case may be, permit inspection of such report by 
or furnish a copy of such report to any person requesting such 
inspection or copy. With respect to any report required to be 
filed by May 15 of any year, such report shall be made 
available for public inspection within 30 calendar days after 
May 15 of such year or within 30 days of the date of filing of 
such a report for which an extension is granted pursuant to 
section 101(g). The agency, office, Clerk, or Secretary of the 
Senate, as the case may be may require a reasonable fee to be 
paid in any amount which is found necessary to recover the cost 
of reproduction or mailing of such report excluding any salary 
of any employee involved in such reproduction or mailing. A 
copy of such report may be furnished without charge or at a 
reduced charge if it is determined that waiver or reduction of 
the fee is in the public interest.
  (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a report may not be made 
available under this section to any person nor may any copy 
thereof be provided under this section to any person except 
upon a written application by such person stating--
          (A) that person's name, occupation and address;
          (B) the name and address of any other person or 
        organization on whose behalf the inspection or copy is 
        requested; and
          (C) that such person is aware of the prohibitions on 
        the obtaining or use of the report.
Any such application shall be made available to the public 
throughout the period during which the report is made available 
to the public.
  (3)(A) This section does not require the immediate and 
unconditional availability of reports filed by an individual 
described in section 109(8) or 109(10) of this Act if a finding 
is made by the Judicial Conference, in consultation with United 
States Marshals Service, that revealing personal and sensitive 
information could endanger that individual or a family member 
of that individual.
  (B) A report may be redacted pursuant to this paragraph 
only--
          (i) to the extent necessary to protect the individual 
        who filed the report or a family member of that 
        individual; and
          (ii) for as long as the danger to such individual 
        exists.
  (C) The Administrative Office of the United States Courts 
shall submit to the Committees on the Judiciary of the House of 
Representatives and of the Senate and the Senate Committee on 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the House 
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform an annual report 
with respect to the operation of this paragraph including--
          (i) the total number of reports redacted pursuant to 
        this paragraph;
          (ii) the total number of individuals whose reports 
        have been redacted pursuant to this paragraph;
          (iii) the types of threats against individuals whose 
        reports are redacted, if appropriate;
          (iv) the nature or type of information redacted;
          (v) what steps or procedures are in place to ensure 
        that sufficient information is available to litigants 
        to determine if there is a conflict of interest;
          (vi) principles used to guide implementation of 
        redaction authority; and
          (vii) any public complaints received relating to 
        redaction.
  (D) The Judicial Conference, in consultation with the 
Department of Justice, shall issue regulations setting forth 
the circumstances under which redaction is appropriate under 
this paragraph and the procedures for redaction.
  (E) This paragraph shall expire on December 31, [2017] 2027, 
and apply to filings through calendar year [2017] 2027.
  (c)(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to obtain or use a 
report--
          (A) for any unlawful purpose;
          (B) for any commercial purpose, other than by news 
        and communications media for dissemination to the 
        general public;
          (C) for determining or establishing the credit rating 
        of any individual; or
          (D) for use, directly or indirectly, in the 
        solicitation of money for any political, charitable, or 
        other purpose.
  (2) The Attorney General may bring a civil action against any 
person who obtains or uses a report for any purpose prohibited 
in paragraph (1) of this subsection. The court in which such 
action is brought may assess against such person a penalty in 
any amount not to exceed $10,000. Such remedy shall be in 
addition to any other remedy available under statutory or 
common law.
  (d)(1) Any report filed with or transmitted to an agency or 
supervising ethics office or to the Clerk of the House of 
Representatives or the Secretary of the Senate pursuant to this 
title shall be retained by such agency or office or by the 
Clerk of the House of Representatives or the Secretary of the 
Senate, as the case may be.
  (2) Such report shall be made available to the public--
          (A) in the case of a Member of Congress until a date 
        that is 6 years from the date the individual ceases to 
        be a Member of Congress; and
          (B) in the case of all other reports filed pursuant 
        to this title, for a period of 6 years after receipt of 
        the report.
  (3) After the relevant time period identified under paragraph 
(2), the report shall be destroyed unless needed in an ongoing 
investigation, except that in the case of an individual who 
filed the report pursuant to section 101(b) and was not 
subsequently confirmed by the Senate, or who filed the report 
pursuant to section 101(c) and was not subsequently elected, 
such reports shall be destroyed 1 year after the individual 
either is no longer under consideration by the Senate or is no 
longer a candidate for nomination or election to the Office of 
President, Vice President, or as a Member of Congress, unless 
needed in an ongoing investigation or inquiry.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


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