S.1347 - Conference Accountability Act of 2013113th Congress (2013-2014)
Text: S.1347 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)
There is one version of the bill.
Introduced in Senate (07/23/2013)
[Congressional Bills 113th Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] [S. 1347 Introduced in Senate (IS)] 113th CONGRESS 1st Session S. 1347 To provide transparency, accountability, and limitations of Government sponsored conferences. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES July 23, 2013 Mr. Coburn (for himself, Mr. McCain, Mr. Chiesa, Mr. Enzi, and Ms. Ayotte) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To provide transparency, accountability, and limitations of Government sponsored conferences. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Conference Accountability Act of 2013''. SEC. 2. GOVERNMENT SPONSORED CONFERENCES. (a) Travel Expenses of Federal Agencies Relating to Conferences.-- (1) Limitations and reports on travel expenses to conferences.--Chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: ``Sec. 5712. Limitations and reports on travel expenses to conferences ``(a) In this section, the term-- ``(1) `conference' means a meeting that-- ``(A) is held for consultation, education, or discussion; ``(B) is not held entirely at an agency facility; ``(C) involves costs associated with travel and lodging for some participants; and ``(D) is sponsored by 1 or more agencies, 1 or more organizations that are not agencies, or a combination of such agencies or organizations; and ``(2) `international conference' means a conference attended by representatives of-- ``(A) the United States Government; and ``(B) any foreign government, international organization, or foreign nongovernmental organization. ``(b) No agency may pay the travel expenses for more than 50 employees of that agency who are stationed in the United States, for any international conference occurring outside the United States, unless the Secretary of State submits to Congress before the conference a written certification that attendance for such employees is in the national interest. ``(c) Not later than 30 days after the end of each quarter of each fiscal year, each agency shall post on the public Internet website of that agency a report on each conference for which the agency paid travel expenses during the preceding 3 months that includes-- ``(1) the itemized expenses paid by the agency, including travel expenses, the cost of scouting for and selecting the location of the conference, and any agency expenditures to otherwise support the conference; ``(2) the primary sponsor of the conference; ``(3) the location of the conference; ``(4) in the case of a conference for which that agency was the primary sponsor, a statement that-- ``(A) justifies the location selected; ``(B) demonstrates the cost efficiency of the location; and ``(C) provides a cost benefit analysis of holding a conference rather than conducting a teleconference; ``(5) the date of the conference; ``(6) an explanation how the conference advanced the mission of the agency; ``(7) the title and pay grade of any Federal employee or any individual who is not a Federal employee whose travel expenses or other conference expenses were paid by the agency; and ``(8) the total number of individuals whose travel expenses or other conference expenses were paid by the agency. ``(d) Each report posted on the public Internet website under subsection (c) shall-- ``(1) be in a searchable electronic format; and ``(2) remain on that website for at least 5 years after the date of posting.''. (2) Technical and conforming amendment.--The table of sections for chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 5711 the following: ``5712. Limitations and reports on travel expenses to conferences.''. (b) Limitations on Annual Travel Expenses.-- (1) In general.--In the case of each of fiscal years 2014 through 2018, an agency (as defined under section 5701(1) of title 5, United States Code) may not make, or obligate to make, expenditures for travel expenses, in an aggregate amount greater than 80 percent of the aggregate amount of such expenses for fiscal year 2010. (2) Identification of travel expenses.--Not later than September 1, 2013, and after consultation with the Administrator of General Services and the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall establish guidelines for the determination of what expenses constitute travel expenses for purposes of this subsection. The guidelines shall identify specific expenses, and classes of expenses, that are to be treated as travel expenses. (c) Conference Transparency and Limitations.-- (1) Definitions.--In this subsection-- (A) the term ``agency'' has the meaning given under section 5701(1) of title 5, United States Code; and (B) the term ``conference'' has the meaning given under section 5712(a)(1) of title 5, United States Code (as added by subsection (a)). (2) Public availability of conference materials.--Each agency shall post on the public Internet website of that agency detailed information on any presentation made by any employee of that agency at a conference, including-- (A) any minutes relating to the presentation; (B) any speech delivered; (C) any visual exhibit, including photographs or slides; (D) any video, digital, or audio recordings of the conference; and (E) information regarding any financial support or other assistance from a foundation or other non-Federal source used to pay or defray the costs of the conference, which shall include a certification by the head of the agency that there is no conflict of interest resulting from the support received from each such source. (3) Limitation on amount expended on a conference.-- (A) In general.--No agency may expend more than $500,000 to support a single conference. (B) Rule of construction.--Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to preclude an agency from receiving financial support or other assistance from a foundation or other non-Federal source to pay or defray the costs of a conference the total cost of which exceeds $500,000. (4) Limitation on the annual number of conferences an agency may support.-- (A) In general.--An agency may expend funds on not more than 1 conference that is sponsored or organized by a particular organization during any fiscal year, unless the agency is the primary sponsor and organizer of the conference. (B) Rule of construction.--Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to preclude an agency from paying travel expenses for an employee of that agency to attend a conference. (5) Limitation on conference policies.--An agency may not establish or implement a policy that discourages or prohibits the selection of a location for travel, an event, a meeting, or a conference because the location is perceived to be a resort or vacation destination.