The text of Section 1 of House Resolution 895 of the 110th ACongress, with amendments adopted from https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3249488/Goodlatte-OCE-Amendment-to-House-Rules.pdf as interpreted by Ben Keith, who is not a lawyer Copied from https://www.congress.gov/bill/110th-congress/house-resolution/895/text and https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3249488/Goodlatte-OCE-Amendment-to-House-Rules.pdf, provided by https://twitter.com/EricLiptonNYT/status/816073959812763649
SECTION 1. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL ETHICS.
(a) Establishment.—For the purpose of assisting the House in carrying out its responsibilities under article I, section 5, clause 2 of the Constitution (commonly referred to as the “Discipline Clause”), there is established in the House an independent office to be known as the Office of Congressional Complaint Review (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “Office”).
(1) The Office shall be subject to the authority and direction of the Committee on Ethics.
(2) The Office shall be treated as a standing committee of the HOuse for purposes of section 202(i) of the Legislative Reorganization Acto of 1946 (2 U.S.C. 4301(i)).
(3) The Orrice may not take any action that would deny any person any right or protection provided under the Constitution of the United States.
(1) The Office shall be governed by a board consisting of six individuals of whom three shall be nominated by the Speaker subject to the consultation of the minority leader and three shall be nominated by the minority leader subject to the consultation of the Speaker. The Speaker shall nominate at least one alternate board member subject to the consultation of the minority leader and the minority leader shall nominate at least one alternate board member subject to the consultation of the Speaker. If any vacancy occurs in the board, then the most senior alternate board member nominated by the same individual who nominated the member who left the board shall serve on the board until a permanent replacement is selected. If a permanent appointment is not made within 90 days, the alternate member shall be deemed to have been appointed for the remainder of the term of the member who left the board and the Speaker or the minority leader, as applicable, shall nominate a new alternate subject to the consultation of the other leader.
(2) The Speaker and the minority leader each shall appoint individuals of exceptional public standing who are specifically qualified to serve on the board by virtue of their education, training, or experience in one or more of the following fields: legislative, judicial, regulatory, professional ethics, business, legal, and academic.
(3) The Speaker shall designate one member of the board as chairman. The minority leader shall designate one member of the board as cochairman. The cochairman shall act as chairman in the absence of the chairman.
(A) Selection and appointment of members of the board shall be without regard to political affiliation and solely on the basis of fitness to perform their duties.
(i) No individual shall be eligible for appointment to, or service on, the board who—
(I) is a lobbyist registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995;
(II) has been so registered at any time during the year before the date of appointment;
(III) engages in, or is otherwise employed in, lobbying of the Congress;
(IV) is an agent of a foreign principal registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act;
(V) is a Member; or
(VI) is an officer or employee of the Federal Government.
(ii) No individual who has been a Member, officer, or employee of the House may be appointed to the board sooner than one year after ceasing to be a Member, officer, or employee of the House.
(5) A vacancy on the board shall be filled for the unexpired portion of the term, utilizing the process set forth in paragraph (1).
(A) Except as provided by subparagraph (B), terms on the board shall be for two Congresses.
(B) Of the individuals appointed in the 110th Congress to serve on the board, 4 shall be designated at the time of appointment to serve only for the remainder of that Congress. Any such individual may be reappointed for a second and third term of two Congresses each.
(C) Any member of the board may be removed from office for cause by the Speaker and the minority leader, acting jointly, but not by either, acting alone.
(7) A member of the board shall not be considered to be an officer or employee of the House, but shall receive a per diem equal to the daily equivalent of the minimum rate of basic pay payable for GS–15 of the General Schedule for each day (including travel time) during which such member is engaged in the performance of the duties of the board.
(8) A majority of the members of the board shall constitute a quorum.
(9) The board shall meet at the call of the chairman or a majority of its members pursuant to its rules.
(c) Powers.—The board is authorized and directed to:
(A) Within 7 calendar days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays) after receipt of a joint written request from 2 members of the board (one of whom was nominated by the Speaker and one by the minority leader) to all board members to undertake a preliminary review of any alleged violation by a Member, officer, or employee of the House of any law, rule, regulation, or other standard of conduct applicable to the conduct of such Member, officer, or employee in the performance of his duties or the discharge of his responsibilities, along with a brief description of the specific matter, initiate a preliminary review and notify in writing—
(i) the Committee on Ethics of that preliminary review and provide a statement of the nature of the review; and
(ii) any individual who is the subject of the preliminary review and provide such individual with a statement of the nature of the review.
(B) Within 60 calendar days or 5 legislative days, whichever is later, after receipt of a request under subparagraph (A), complete a preliminary review.
(C) Before the end of the applicable time period, vote on whether to commence a second-phase review of the matter under consideration. An affirmative vote of at least 3 members of the board is required to commence a second-phase review. If no such vote to commence a second-phase review has succeeded by the end of the applicable time period, the matter is terminated. At any point before the end of the applicable time period, the board may vote to terminate a preliminary review by the affirmative vote of not less than 4 members. The board shall notify, in writing, the individual who was the subject of the preliminary review and the Committee on Ethics of its decision to either terminate the preliminary review or commence a second-phase review of the matter. If the board votes to terminate the preliminary review, it shall send a termination report to the committee on Ethics and to the individual who was the subject of the review.
(D) The board of the Office may not take any steps to undertake a preliminary review under section subparagraph (A) of section 1(c)(1) with respect to an alleged violation, including requestinf information or other materials or interviewining witnesses (other than reviewing publicly available information), until the board has received a joint written request described in such section with respect to the alleged violation.
(i) Except as provided by item (ii), complete a second-phase review within 60 calendar days or 5 legislative days, whichever is later, after the board commences such review.
(B) Transmit to the Committee on Ethics a recommendation that a matter requires further review only upon the affirmative vote of not less than 4 members of the board. The board shall transmit its recommendation to the Committee under such subparagraph not later than 7 calendar days after the vote.
(C) Upon the completion of any second-phase review undertaken—
(i) transmit to the Committee on Ethics the following—
(I) a written report composed solely of—
(aa) a recommendation that the committee should dismiss the matter that was the subject of such review;
(bb) a statement that the matter requires further review; or
(cc) a statement that the matter is unresolved because of a tie vote; and
the number of members voting in the affirmative and in the negative and a statement of the nature of the review and the individual who is the subject of the review;
(II) its findings, if any, composed solely of—
(aa) any findings of fact;
(bb) a description of any relevant information that it was unable to obtain or witnesses whom it was unable to interview, and the reasons therefor;
(cc) a recommendation for the issuance of subpoenas where appropriate, if any; and
(dd) a citation of any relevant law, rule, regulation, or standard of conduct;
but not the names of any cooperative witnesses or any conclusions regarding the validity of the allegations upon which it is based or the guilt or innocence of the individual who is the subject of the review; and
(III) all materials related to any matter referred to the Committee on Ethics by the Board in carrying out the second-phase review, including, but not limited to, requests for information, transcripts, documentation and other materials, and any other relevant material; and
(ii) transmit to the individual who is the subject of the second-phase review the written report of the board described in clause (i).
(D) Hold such hearings as are necessary and sit and act only in executive session at such times and places and solicit such testimony and receive such relevant evidence as may be necessary to carry out its duties.
(E) Pay witnesses appearing before the Office in the same manner as prescribed by clause 5 of rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives.
(F) Adopt rules to carry out its duties, which shall include each of the following:
(i) A rule providing that—
(I) the board may vote to terminate a preliminary review on any ground, including that the matter under review is de minimis in nature; and
(II) the board may vote to recommend to the Committee on Ethics that the committee should dismiss a matter that was the subject of a second-phase review on any ground, including that the matter under review is de minimis in nature.
(ii) A rule requiring that all witnesses sign a statement acknowledging their understanding that the text of section 1001 of title 18, United States Code (popularly known as the False Statements Act) applies to their testimony and to any documents they provide.
(iii) A rule requiring that there be no ex parte communications between any member of the board or staff of the Office and any individual who is the subject of any review by the board or between any member and any interested party, and that no Member, officer, or employee of the House may communicate with any member of the board or staff of the Office regarding any matter under review by the board except as authorized by the board.
(iv) A rule that establishes a code of conduct to govern the behavior of its members and staff, which shall include the avoidance of conflicts of interest.
(v) A rule prohibiting the board from accepting or considering any anonymous allegation.
(vi) A provision protecting the due process rights of individuals who are the subject of a preliminary review or second-phase review by the board, and of witnesses, including informing such individuals and witensses of the right to be represented by counsel and ensuring that the invocation of that right will not be held negatively against them.
(d) Requests From Committee On Ethics
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, upon receipt of a written request from the Committee on Ethics that the board cease its review of any matter and refer such matter to the Committee, the board shall refer such matter immediately to the Committee and cease its preliminary or second-phase review, as applicable, of that matter, and so notify and individual who is the subject of the review. In any such case, the board shall send a written report to the committee containing a statement that, upon the request of that committee, the matter is referred to it for its consideration, but not any findings.
(2) If the Committee on Ethics notifies the board in writing that it is unable to resolve any matter described in paragraph (1), the board shall immediately cease any investigation of the matter, and shall notify the individual who is the subject of the review accordingly.
(e) Limitations On Review.—No review shall be undertaken by the board of any alleged violation of law, rule, regulation or standard of conduct not in effect at the time of the alleged violation; nor shall any review be undertaken by the board of any alleged violation that occurred before the date of adoption of this resolution, nor shall any review be undertaken by the board of any alleged violation that occurred before the One Hundred Twelfth Congress.
(1) If at any time the board of the Office discovers information indicating that a matter which is the subject of a review by the board may involve a violation of a criminal law, the Board will immediately refer the matter to the Committee on Ethics for further review or, if determined appropriate by the Committee on Ethics, referral to an appropriate law enforcement agency. Nothing in the previous sentence may be construed to authorize the Board to refer any matter directly to any law enforcement agency.
(f) Prohibition On Public Disclosure.—
(A) When an individual becomes a member of the board or staff of the Office, that individual shall execute the following oath or affirmation in writing: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will not disclose to any person or entity outside of the Office any information received in the course of my service with the Office, except as authorized by the board as necessary to conduct official business or pursuant to its rules.”. Copies of the executed oath shall be provided to the Clerk of the House as part of the records of the House.
(B) No testimony received or any other information obtained as a member of the board or staff of the Office shall be publicly disclosed by any such individual to any person or entity outside the Office. Any communication to any person or entity outside the Office may occur only as authorized by the board as necessary to conduct official business or pursuant to its rules.
(C) The Office shall establish procedures necessary to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of any information received by the Office. Any breaches of confidentiality shall be investigated by the board and appropriate action shall be taken.
(2) Paragraph (1) shall not preclude presenting its report or findings or testifying before the Committee on Ethics by any member of the board or staff of the Office if requested by such committee pursuant to its rules.
(3) Before the board votes on a recommendation or statement to be transmitted to the Committee on Ethics relating to official conduct of any Member, officer, or employee of the House, it shall provide that individual the opportunity to present, orally or in writing (at the discretion of the board), a statement to the board.
(4) Nothing in section 1(f) may be construed to authorize the board of the Office to make any public statement, or release any information or other material to the public or any other entity, unless such statement or information has already been released by the Committee on Ethics or the release of such statement or information has been authorized by the Committee on Ethics.
(g) Presentation Of Reports To Committee on Ethics.—Whenever the board transmits any report to the Committee on Ethics relating to official conduct of any Member, officer, or employee of the House, it shall designate a member of the board or staff to present the report to such committee if requested by such committee.
(h) Compensation Of Staff.—Upon the affirmative vote of at least 4 of its members, the board may appoint and fix the compensation of such professional, nonpartisan staff as it considers necessary to perform its duties.
(1) The board of the Office is not authorized to employ any person for a positino involving communicatinos with the public, including a communications director or press spokesperson.
(i) Termination Of Staff.—Members of the staff may be terminated during a Congress solely by the affirmative vote of at least 4 members of the board.
(j) Reimbursements.—The board may reimburse its members and staff for travel, subsistence, and other necessary expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties in the same manner as is permissible for such expenses of other employees of the House.
(k) Agreements; Retention Of Documents By The Clerk.—
(1) Before any individual who is appointed to serve on the board (including an individual who is an alternate) or before any individual is hired to be a staff member of the Office may do so, the individual shall execute a signed document containing the following statement: “I agree not to be a candidate for the office of Senator or Representative in, or Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress for purposes of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 until at least 3 years after I am no longer a member of the board or staff of the Office of Congressional Complaint Review.”.
(2) Copies of the signed and executed document shall be retained by the Clerk as part of the records of the House. The Clerk shall make the signatures a matter of public record, causing the names of each individual who has signed the document to be published in a portion of the Congressional Record designed for that purpose, and make cumulative lists of such names available on the web site of the Clerk.
(3) The following rules shall be applicable to the staff of the Office:
(A) The staff is to be assembled and retained as a professional, nonpartisan staff.
(B) Each member of the staff shall be professional and demonstrably qualified for the position for which he is hired.
(C) The staff as a whole and each member of the staff shall perform all official duties in a nonpartisan manner.
(D) No member of the staff shall engage in any partisan political activity directly affecting any congressional or presidential election.
(E) No member of the staff may accept public speaking engagements or write for publication on any subject that is in any way related to his or her employment or duties with the Office without specific prior approval from the chairman and cochairman.
(l) Funding.—There shall be paid out of the applicable accounts of the House such sums as may be necessary for the expenses of the Office. Such payments shall be made on vouchers signed by the chairman of the board and approved in the manner directed by the Committee on House Administration. Amounts made available under this section shall be expended in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Committee on House Administration.
(m) Definition.—As used in this section, the term “Member” means any Representative in, or Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress.