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house Bill H.R. 2347

Should Federal Advisory Committees Face More Stringent Ethics Requirements?

Argument in favor

The public should have access to information about who the experts advising federal agencies are, and how they are chosen. Because their position carries significant influence, all advisory committee and subcommittee members should comply with federal ethics laws and conflict of interest rules.

operaman's Opinion
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03/01/2016
If they don't have ethics, then we don't need the committee/advisory board. You don't have to be brave, but you have to be honest.
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Alis's Opinion
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03/03/2016
Has government become the morality police? It is not my impression that other than greed or religious ideology, most people who go into government service are particularly unethical. No one gets paid enough for it to be about $$. Power is another issue but do we want a religious police force like Saudi Arabia or Iran? HELL NO! It seems conservatives who are always harping on morality are either buggering little boys or nailing their female employees continue to obsess about ethics! Get your personal house in order & stay out of the policing of public morality!!!
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Scott's Opinion
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03/01/2016
No conflict of interests should be tolerated EVER.
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Argument opposed

There should continue to be a distinction between advisory committee members and subcommittee members when it comes to compliance with federal ethics laws. Political appointees to advisory committees aren’t likely to allow political pressure to alter their recommendations.

ConcernedPatriot's Opinion
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03/01/2016
I am inclined to vote yes, but $70 million is far too much to demand for ethics. We the people should not have to fund ethical compliance. Perhaps these appointees should be required to take an Oath of Office under penalty.
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Kat's Opinion
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03/03/2016
Dr. Ben Carson has taken the hippocratic oath… I believe the state and federal employees should do the same. To do no harm physically or emotionally or financially.
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wpeckham's Opinion
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03/02/2016
I approve of the objectives of this bill. 70 million dollers however is a huge cost just require ethical compliance.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed March 1st, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedMay 15th, 2015

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What is House Bill H.R. 2347?

This bill would modify and expand requirements for federal advisory committees to comply with federal ethics laws, and require federal agencies to disclose more information about committee activities to the public. The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which this legislation amends, defines a federal advisory committee as a provides the government with independent advice and recommendations.

Any person appointed to an advisory committee who isn’t a full-time or permanent part-time officer or employee of the federal government could be designated as either a special government employee or a representative. Special government employees would be providing advice based on their personal experience or expertise, while representatives represent the views of a non-federal entity.

Federal agencies would be prohibited from designating committee members as representatives to avoid subjecting them to federal ethics rules. A designated ethics official of each agency would be required to review the designation of each member of an advisory committee has an appropriate designation, and could redesignate members if appropriate. A person would be considered to be an advisory committee member if they regularly attend and participate in meetings, even if they have no voting rights over committee affairs or are part of a subcommittee.

Appointments to federal advisory committees would be required to be made without regard to political affiliation or political activity unless required by federal law. The head of a federal agency making an appointment to an advisory committee must give interested persons an opportunity to suggest potential members in the Federal Register or on the committee’s website. Agencies must consider all comments submitted in the process of making selections of advisory committee members.

For each advisory committee, federal agencies would be required to make available the following:

  • The committee’s charter;

  • The member appointment process;

  • A list of all current members, including designations as representatives or special government employee;

  • Any recusal agreement made by a member to avoid a conflict of interest;

  • Committee processes for making decisions;

  • Detailed meeting minutes;

  • Notices of future committee meetings.

Impact

Citizens interested in federal advisory committees; members of federal advisory committees and subcommittees; federal agencies; and ethics officials in federal agencies.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2347

$70.00 Million
The CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would cost $70 million over the 2016-2020 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO) introduced this legislation to increase transparency and remove political influence within federal advisory committees:

“This bill opens up the Federal Advisory Committee selection and oversight process by providing greater transparency and ensuring real independence for appointees. The act also imposes much tougher standards to ensure that committee members are insulated from political pressure to influence their recommendations. Finally, my act would require any FACA appointee selected by the President or an agency to provide expert advice to fully comply with all conflict of interest rules and federal ethics laws.”

This bill was reported by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by unanimous consent, and it is currently cosponsored by two Democrats in the House.



Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user ITU Pictures)

AKA

Federal Advisory Committee Act Amendments of 2016

Official Title

To amend the Federal Advisory Committee Act to increase the transparency of Federal advisory committees, and for other purposes.