S.10 - Comprehensive Congressional Reform Act of 1995104th Congress (1995-1996)
Summary: S.10 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)
Introduced in Senate (01/04/1995)
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Division A: Extension of Rights and Protections, and
Title I: Extension of Rights and Protections, and
Title II: Office of Congressional Fair Employment
Practices--Establishment and Operations
Title III: Administrative and Judicial
Title IV: Miscellaneous Provisions
Division B: Lobbying and Gift Reform
Title I: Lobbying Reform
Title II: Congressional Gift Reform
Division C: Campaign Finance Reform
Title I: Congressional Campaign Spending Limit and
Subtitle A: Control of Congressional Campaign
Subtitle B: Independent Expenditures
Subtitle C: Expenditures
Subtitle D: Contributions
Subtitle E: Miscellaneous
Subtitle F: Effective Dates, Authorizations
Comprehensive Congressional Reform Act of 1995 - Division A: Extension of Rights and Protections, and Associated Procedures - Title I: Extension of Rights and Protections, and Associated Procedures - Requires all personnel actions affecting covered employees to be made free from any discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicap or disability. Defines a "covered employee" as an employee of the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Architect of the Capitol, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), or the Office of Congressional Fair Employment Practices (the Office).
Provides that any intimidation of, or reprisal against, any covered employee because of the exercise of a right under this Act constitutes an unlawful employment practice.
Makes available the relief awarded under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, or a specified section of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), as appropriate, for discrimination violations affecting covered employees. Prohibits punitive damages for such violations. Bars a covered employee from commencing an administrative or judicial proceeding to seek a remedy for prohibited practices, except as provided under this Act.
Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the ADEA to apply their protection and remedies to the Government Printing Office (GPO) and the General Accounting Office (GAO). Extends coverage under the ADA to GPO and GAO as well.
(Sec. 102) Applies the rights, protections, and relief of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 (EPPA), the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), and veterans' employment and reemployment rights to covered employees, GAO, and the Library of Congress. Applies the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to covered employees and GPO.
(Sec. 107) Establishes the following exclusive procedures for remedy of violations of the laws described above: (1) employee counseling; (2) mediation; (3) filing of a formal complaint with the Office or filing of a civil action in the U.S. district court; and (4) appealing to the Board of Directors of the Office if aggrieved by a decision or to the U.S. Court of Appeals for review, subject to certain conditions.
(Sec. 108) Applies the rights and protections against discrimination in the provision of public services under the ADA to the Senate, the House, congressional joint committees, the Architect of the Capitol, the Capitol Guide Service, the Capitol Police, CBO, OTA, and the Office. Applies such rights and protections to any qualified individual with a disability, except that, with respect to claims of employment discrimination asserted by a covered employee, the exclusive remedies described above shall apply.
Makes relief under such Act available for such violations and describes procedures to remedy such violations, including filing a charge with the General Counsel of the Office, mediation, and judicial review.
Makes specified remedies and procedures under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 available to disabled visitors, guests, or patrons of instrumentalities of the Congress (GAO, GPO, and the Library) who allege violations under ADA provisions described by this section.
(Sec. 109) Directs each employing office (including GAO and the Library) and covered employee to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) and applies such Act's duties, rights, protections, and remedies (except penalties) to such offices and employees. Establishes procedures for such remedies, including granting the General Counsel and the Board certain authorities exercised by the Secretary of Labor under such Act.
(Sec. 110) Applies the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute to employing offices and covered employees. Grants the Board and the General Counsel specified authorities under the Statute.
(Sec. 111) Requires the Board of the Office to: (1) review provisions of Federal laws and regulations relating to the terms and conditions of employment (including protection from discrimination in personnel actions, health and safety, and family and medical leave) of employees and access to public services and accommodations; and (2) report on December 31, 1996, and biennially thereafter, on whether or to what degree such provisions are applicable or inapplicable to the legislative branch and, if inapplicable, whether they should be made applicable.
Requires each report of a congressional committee accompanying any bill or joint resolution to: (1) describe the manner in which the provisions of the bill or joint resolution apply to the Congress and congressional instrumentalities; or (2) if the provisions do not apply, include a statement of the reasons why.
(Sec. 112) Directs the Board to study the application of the following laws to GAO, GPO, the Library , and other entities in the legislative branch not covered by all the sections of this title: (1) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; (2) the ADEA; (3) the ADA; (4) the FMLA; (5) the FLSA; (6) the OSHA; (7) the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; (8) the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute; (9) the General Accounting Office Personnel Act of 1980; (10) the EPPA; (11) the WARN; and (12) provisions relating to veterans' employment and reemployment rights.
Title II: Office of Congressional Fair Employment Practices-Establishment and Operations - Establishes the Office of Congressional Fair Employment Practices within the legislative branch.
(Sec. 207) Authorizes appropriations.
Title III: Administrative and Judicial Dispute-Resolution Procedures - Sets forth procedures for counseling, mediation, hearings, appeals to the Board, judicial review of Board decisions, and civil actions relating to violations described under title I.
(Sec. 307) Sets deadlines for: (1) making counseling requests; and (2) charging discrimination in public services or discrimination in exercising rights relating to occupational safety and health.
Title IV: Miscellaneous Provisions - Establishes Settlements and Awards Reserve appropriation accounts in the Contingent Funds of the House and the Senate. Makes amounts in such accounts available for the payment of awards for settlements made under this Act.
(Sec. 403) Prohibits judicial review of actions taken pursuant to this Act, except in proceedings authorized under title III.
(Sec. 406) Provides that it shall not be a violation of any provision to consider the party affiliation, domicile, or political compatibility, with respect to employment decisions, of employees who are: (1) on the staff of the House or Senate leadership; (2) on the staff of congressional committees, joint committees, or subcommittees; (3) on the staff of Members of the House or Senators; (4) officers of the House or the Senate or elected or appointed congressional staff; or (5) applicants for any such positions.
(Sec. 407) Directs the Senate Select Committee on Ethics and the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to retain full power with respect to the discipline of Members, officers, and employees for violating rules of the Senate and the House on nondiscrimination in employment.
(Sec. 410) Sets forth transitional provisions with respect to certain existing claims.
Division B: Lobbying and Gift Reform - Title I: Lobbying Reform - Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 - Requires registration with the Office of Lobbying Registration and Public Disclosure (Office) established by this Act by any individual lobbyist (or the individual's employer, if it employs one or more lobbyists) within 30 days after the individual first makes, or is employed or retained to make, a lobbying contact with either the President, the Vice President, a Member of Congress, or any other specified Federal officer or employee. Defines a lobbyist as any individual employed or retained by a client for financial or other compensation for services that include one or more lobbying contacts (but not an individual whose lobbying activities constitute less than ten percent of the time engaged in the services provided to that client). Provides for: (1) special registration filing rules in cases involving multiple clients and contacts; and (2) registration termination in cases where a registrant is no longer employed or retained by a client to conduct lobbying activities, and does not anticipate any additional lobbying activities for such client.
(Sec. 1104) Specifies the contents of such registration and reports.
(Sec. 1105) Requires registrants to file semiannual lobbying activity reports with the Office. Provides for: (1) exemptions from such registration and reporting requirements in cases involving lobbying income of $2,500 or less (for a particular client) or total expenses of $5,000 or less (for all lobbying activities of a registrant whose employees lobby on its own behalf) for the semiannual period. Requires periodic adjustment of such dollar amounts for inflation.
(Sec. 1106) Provides for special rules generally prohibiting registrants under this Act and the Foreign Agents Registration Act from providing gifts (including meals, lodging, transportation, entertainment, reimbursements, loans, or forbearance) to any covered legislative branch official, or to the spouse, dependent, friend, or relative of such an official if it is given with the knowledge and acquiescence of such official and is given because of his or her position. Permits certain such items under prescribed circumstances, such as lawful political contributions and informational materials sent to the official's office, and gifts given for a nonbusiness purpose and motivated by family relationship or close personal friendship.
(Sec. 1107) Establishes the Office as an executive agency, and specifies its duties, including making public the semiannual lobbyist activity reports.
(Sec. 1108) Establishes procedures for: (1) determining and resolving alleged violations of this Act; and (2) judicial review of Office decisions.
(Sec. 1113) Amends the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 to: (1) eliminate references to political propaganda and, in certain cases, replace them with references to informational materials; and (2) modify registration exemption provisions.
(Sec. 1114) Revises (Byrd Amendment) requirements for a declaration by persons requesting or receiving a Federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperative agreement with respect to any payments made in connection with it which would be prohibited if made with appropriated funds. Requires, in lieu of information currently required, the: (1) name of any registrant under this Act who has made lobbying contacts on behalf of the person with respect to that Federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperative agreement; and (2) certification that the declarant has not made, and will not make, any prohibited payment.
(Sec. 1115) Repeals: (1) the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act; and (2) provisions on lobbyist activities of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act and the Housing Act of 1949.
(Sec. 1118) Authorizes appropriations.
(Sec. 1119) Sets forth special rules for the identification of: (1) foreign and other clients on whose behalf lobbying contacts are made with a covered legislative or executive branch official; and (2) such covered officials.
(Sec. 1121) Directs the Comptroller General to study and report to the Congress on differences in meaning between this Act and the Internal Revenue Code of "lobbying activities," "lobbying expenditures," "influencing legislation," and related terms.
(Sec. 1122) Requires the President to appoint an interim Director of the Office within 30 days after enactment of this Act.
Title II: Congressional Gift Reform - Amends rule XXXV of the Standing Rules of the Senate to prohibit any Member, officer, or employee of the Senate from knowingly accepting a gift from: (1) a registered lobbyist, lobbying firm, or agent of a foreign principal in violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1994; or (2) any person, subject to exceptions listed in this Act. (Currently, such individuals and their spouses are allowed to accept gifts totalling up to $250 from any one person.)
Considers a gift to a spouse or dependent of a Member, officer, or employee to be a gift to the Member, officer, or employee if given with their knowledge and acquiescence and if there is reason to believe that the gift was given because of their official positions.
Lists items exempt from the restriction on gifts from persons other than lobbyists, lobbying firms, or agents of foreign principals, including: (1) anything provided on the basis of a personal or family relationship unless the Member, officer, or employee has reason to believe that the gift was provided because of his or her official position; (2) unused items that are promptly returned to the donor; (3) food or refreshments believed to have a value of less than $20; (4) food, lodging, and other benefits resulting from the outside business or employment activities of a Member, officer, or employee or their spouses if such benefits have not been offered or enhanced because of the recipient's official position; (5) such benefits customarily provided by a prospective employer in connection with bona fide employment discussions or by a political organization in connection with a fund raising or campaign event; (6) certain awards or prizes given in contests open to the public; (7) certain honorary degrees and other awards; (8) donations of products from the Member's State that are intended for promotional purposes and are of minimal value as well as food, refreshments, and entertainment provided in the home State, subject to reasonable limitations; (9) certain training; (10) bequests and inheritances; (11) anything paid for by the Government or by a State or local government or secured under a Government contract; (12) a gift of personal hospitality; (13) free attendance at an event, as permitted by this Act; and (14) certain other opportunities and benefits.
Establishes conditions under which a Member, officer, or employee may accept an offer of free attendance at a convention, dinner, or similar event.
Prohibits the acceptance of a gift exceeding $250 on the basis of the personal relationship or friendship exception unless the Select Committee on Ethics determines that such exception applies.
Provides that certain reimbursements to a Member, officer, or employee for travel expenses to an event in connection with official duties shall not be considered as gifts if advance authorization to accept reimbursement is received and the reimbursement and authorization are disclosed within a specified time period.
(Sec. 1202) Makes parallel amendments to the Rules of the House of Representatives to reflect conforming gift restrictions.
(Sec. 1203) Amends the Ethics in Government Act to provide that reimbursements deemed accepted by the Senate or the House and reported as required under such rules need not be reported under such Act. Authorizes the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration to accept gifts provided they do not involve any duty, burden, or condition, or are not made dependent upon some future performance by the United States.
Division C: Campaign Finance Reform - Title I: Congressional Campaign Spending Limit and Election Reform - Congressional Campaign Spending Limit and Election Reform Act of 1995 - Subtitle A: Control of Congressional Campaign Spending Part 1: Senate Election Campaign Spending Limits and Benefits - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) to make Senate candidates who meet certain filing requirements and contribution and expenditure limits eligible for FECA benefits.
Limits Senate primary expenditures for a candidate (or his or her authorized committees) to the lesser of: (1) 67 percent of the general election expenditure limit; or (2) $2.75 million. Limits runoff expenditures.
Sets a threshold contribution amount which triggers application of such primary and runoff limits.
Limits the use by a Senate candidate (or authorized committees), during an entire election cycle, of the candidate's personal (or family) funds (including debt).
Limits aggregate general election expenditures by an eligible Senate candidate (or authorized committees) to the lesser of: (1) $5.5 million; or (2) the greater of $1.2 million, or $4,000,000 plus 30 cents times the voting age population up to 4 million and 25 cents times the voting age population over 4 million.
Exempts from the general election expenditure limit qualified accounting and legal expenditures.
Entitles eligible Senate candidates to certain broadcast media rates, and in certain circumstances, payments compensating for independent expenditures and excess expenditures on behalf of the candidate's opponent.
Requires the Federal Election Commission (Commission) to certify an eligible Senate candidate within 48 hours after his or her application to the Secretary of the Senate.
Requires the Commission to examine and audit, for FECA compliance, the campaign accounts of five percent of all Senate and House of Representatives candidates, and the campaign accounts of all opponents of such candidates as well. Requires candidates to refund to the Commission any excess payments or expenditures. Sets civil penalties for excess expenditures and contributions.
Provides for judicial review of Commission actions and requires Commission reports to the Senate.
Requires closed captioning for eligible Senate candidates' television commercials.
Authorizes reduced candidate payments under circumstances of insufficient funds.
(Sec. 10002) Prohibits Senate election activities by political action committees (PACs).
Reduces from $5,000 to $1,000 the maximum aggregate contributions of any PAC to a Senate candidate (or authorized committees). Makes it unlawful for aggregate PACs to contribute to any Senate candidate (or authorized committees) more than the lesser of: (1) $825,000; or (2) 20 percent of the aggregate Federal election spending limit. Requires annual adjustments of such dollar amounts according to a specified price index.
(Sec. 10003) Sets forth reporting requirements for Senate candidates not eligible for FECA benefits. Requires reports to the Secretary within two days of any contributions raised and expenditures made in excess of FECA limits.
Requires any candidate for the Senate who, during the election cycle, exceeds limits on the use of personal and immediate family funds, and on personal loans incurred by the candidate and the candidate's immediate family, to report to the Secretary of the Senate within two days after such expenditures have been made or loans incurred.
Requires certain expenditure reports from any Senate candidate who held Federal, State, or local office during the same election cycle, and made any expenditures, before becoming a Senate candidate, which would have been treated as Senate candidate expenditures.
(Sec. 10004) Requires Senate candidates ineligible for FECA benefits to place on every paid or authorized political commercial or communication the declaration: "This candidate has not agreed to voluntary campaign spending limits."
Part II: General Provisions - Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to require a broadcast station to make broadcast time available to all House and Senate candidates in the last 30 (currently 45) days before a primary at the lowest unit charge of the station for the same amount of time (currently, the same class and amount of time) for the same period on the same date. Allows Senate candidates to purchase broadcast time at 50 percent of the lowest unit rate for the 60 days before a general election.
Prohibits broadcasters from preempting advertisements sold to political candidates at the lowest unit rate, unless the preemption is beyond the broadcaster's control.
(Sec. 10012) Amends FECA to set forth reporting requirements for certain independent expenditures.
(Sec. 10015) Amends Federal law to prohibit a Senator who is a candidate for election to any public office from making a mass mailing under the frank during the calendar year of any primary or general election for such office.
Subtitle B: Independent Expenditures - Amends FECA to define "independent expenditure" as an expenditure for an advertisement or other communication that: (1) contains express advocacy; and (2) is made without the participation or cooperation of a candidate or a candidate's representative. Excludes from the meaning of "independent expenditure" any expenditure by: (1) a political committee of a political party; (2) persons who communicate or receive information about activities that have a purpose of influencing a candidate's election; and (3) persons with other specified relationships with a candidate or candidate's agents in the same election cycle.
Defines "express advocacy" as any communication that when taken as a whole: (1) expresses support for or opposition to a specific candidate, a specific group of candidates, or candidates of a particular political party; or (2) suggests taking action with respect to an election, such as voting for or against, contributing to, or participating in campaign activity.
Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to provide for equal broadcast time, including notification and opportunity to purchase equal time on an independent expenditure basis.
Subtitle C: Expenditures - Part I: Personal Loans; Credit - Amends FECA to prohibit the use of contributions after the date of a general election to repay loans to a candidate (or authorized committee) by the candidate himself or herself or by members of the candidate's family.
Treats as a contribution any extension of credit of more than $1,000 for more than 60 days to candidates for Federal office (or authorized committees) by political advisers.
Part II: Provisions Relating to Soft Money of Political Parties - Amends FECA to define: (1) "generic campaign activity" as a campaign activity on behalf of a party rather than a candidate; and (2) "State Party Grass Roots Fund" as a segregated State fund on behalf of a Federal candidate.
(Sec. 10034) Permits maximum contributions to a State Party Grassroots Fund of: (1) $20,000 by an individual; and (2) $15,000 from a multicandidate committee. Establishes an overall $60,000 annual limit on individual contributions, including specified limits for: (1) candidates and their political committees; and (2) State committees.
(Sec. 10035) Subjects to certain limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements any amount solicited, received, or expended directly or indirectly by a national, State, district, or local committee of a political party (including any subordinate committee) with respect to an activity (such as voter registration and get-out-the vote activities among others) which, in whole or in part, is in connection with an election to Federal office.
Limits the expenditures for which a State committee may use its State Party Grassroots Fund.
(Sec. 10036) Prohibits Federal candidates and officeholders from soliciting contributions not subject to FECA. Restricts on solicitations from tax-exempt organizations.
(Sec. 10037) Requires: (1) a national committee and a congressional campaign committee to report all receipts and disbursements whether or not in connection with a Federal election; and (2) other specified political committees to report all receipts and disbursements in connection with a Federal election.
Subtitle D: Contributions - Specifies circumstances in which contributions made or arranged to be made directly or indirectly by a person to or on behalf of a particular candidate through an intermediary or conduit shall be treated as contributions from such intermediary or conduit to the candidate (thus subjecting them to the FECA limitations otherwise applicable to that intermediary or conduit). Requires an intermediary or conduit to report the original source, contributor, and intended recipient of each forwarded contribution.
Prohibits certain lobbyist contributions.
(Sec. 10042) Treats contributions by a dependent not of voting age as having been made by the individual on whom that dependent is a dependent.
(Sec. 10043) Prohibits a candidate for Federal office from accepting, with respect to any election, any contribution from a State or local political party committee (or subordinate committee) if such contribution, when added to the total of contributions previously accepted from all such committees of that political party, exceeds the relevant contribution limitation.
(Sec. 10044) Makes it unlawful to coerce contributions or expenditures by physical threat or other intimidation.
(Sec. 10045) Prohibit acceptance by a candidate of cash contributions from any one person aggregating more than $100.
Subtitle E: Miscellaneous - Prohibits Federal candidates and officeholders from establishing, maintaining, or controlling any political committee (such as a "leadership committee") other than a principal campaign committee of the candidate, authorized committee, party committee, or other political committee designated as an authorized committee.
(Sec. 10052) Directs the Commission to study and report to the Congress on the feasibility of developing telephonic voting for persons with disabilities.
(Sec. 10053) Exempts certain tax-exempt organizations from specified corporate expenditure limits.
(Sec. 10055) Requires exact copies of campaign advertising that refers to a candidate's opponent to be filed with the Commission and the Secretary of State of the candidate's State.
(Sec. 10056) Amends Federal law to prohibit a Member of Congress, during an election year, from using the franking privilege for a mass mailing from January 1 until the general election date.
Subtitle F: Effective Dates; Authorizations - Sets forth the general effective date of this Act.
Provides for direct, expedited appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court from any court rulings on the constitutionality of any provision of this Act or amendment made by it.