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<CRDoc>[Congressional Record Volume <volume>157</volume>, Number <number>196</number> (<weekday>Monday</weekday>, <month>December</month> <day>19</day>, <year>2011</year>)]
[<chamber>House</chamber>]
[Pages <pages>H9937-H9938</pages>]
<congress>112</congress>
<session>1</session>
<document_title>EXTENSION OF REDACTION AUTHORITY CONCERNING SENSITIVE SECURITY
INFORMATION</document_title>
<speaker name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">Mr. SMITH of Texas</speaker>. <speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and
concur in the Senate amendment to the bill (H.R. 1059) 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.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">The Clerk read the title of the bill.</speaking>
<recorder> The text of the Senate amendment is as follows:</recorder>
<speaking quote="true" speaker="recorder">Senate amendment:
On page 2, line 6 through 8 strike and insert:
(1) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``Marshall'' and
inserting ``Marshals'';
(2) in subparagraph (C), by inserting ``and the Senate
Committee on Homeland Security and
Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform'' after ``Senate''; and
(3) in subparagraph (E), by striking ``2011'' both places
it appears and inserting ``2017''.</speaking>
<speaker name="The SPEAKER pro tempore">The SPEAKER pro tempore</speaker>. <speaking name="The SPEAKER pro tempore">Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from
Texas (Mr. Smith) and the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) each
will control 20 minutes.</speaking>
<speaking name="The SPEAKER pro tempore">The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas.</speaking>
<title>General Leave</title>
<speaker name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">Mr. SMITH of Texas</speaker>. <speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all
Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend
their remarks and to include extraneous material on the motion to
concur currently under consideration.</speaking>
<speaker name="The SPEAKER pro tempore">The SPEAKER pro tempore</speaker>. <speaking name="The SPEAKER pro tempore">Is there objection to the request of the
gentleman from Texas?</speaking>
<recorder> There was no objection.</recorder>
<title>{time} </title> 1640
<speaker name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">Mr. SMITH of Texas</speaker>. <speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may
consume.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">I support H.R. 1059 and thank Mr. Conyers for sponsoring it. I also
thank Mr. Cohen of Tennessee and Mr. Johnson of Georgia for serving as
cosponsors.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">H.R. 1059 promotes an important goal, providing security for Federal
judges. Under the Ethics in Government Act, judges and other high-level
judicial branch officials must file annual financial disclosure
reports. This requirement increases public confidence in government
officials and better enables the public to judge the performance of
those officials. However, Congress enacted legislation that allows the
Judicial Conference to redact statutorily required information in a
financial disclosure report where the release of the information could
endanger the filer or their family.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">Those who seek to harm or intimidate Federal judges might use a
disclosure form to identify where someone's spouse or child works or
goes to school on a regular basis. Individuals targeting judges for
harassment have also been known to file false claims on property owned
by judges and their families. Harassers could use judicial financial
disclosure reports to more easily identify such property.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">The Judicial Conference delegated to its Committee on Financial
Disclosure the responsibility to implement the financial disclosure
requirements for judges and judicial employees under the Ethics in
Government Act. The committee monitors the release of financial
disclosure reports to ensure compliance with the statute.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">In consultation with U.S. Marshals Service, the committee also
reviews and approves or disapproves any request for redaction or
statutorily mandated information where the filer believes the release
of the information could endanger the filer and their family. Under the
Judicial Conference's regulations, no redaction will be granted without
a clear nexus between a security risk and the information for which
redaction is sought.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">The law has worked well through the years and has been reauthorized
twice since 2001; but it expires at the end of this calendar year if we
fail to act, an outcome that is unacceptable.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">Last year the Marshals Service investigated and analyzed almost 1,400
threats and inappropriate communications to judicial officials, nearly
three times as many threats as recorded in 2003. And there were more
than 3,900 incidents and arrests at U.S. court facilities in 2010.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">Financial disclosures help maintain an open and transparent
government, but government transparency should not come at the cost of
personal security for government officials. Judges and other judicial
employees perform important work that is integral to our democratic
system of government. In order to preserve the integrity of our
democracy, we must protect the integrity of our courts; and that means
ensuring the security of judges and other judicial employees from
intimidation and threats.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">The Senate made two minor amendments to the bill, which we accept.
The first amendment involves an annual report that the administrative
Office of the U.S. Courts submits to the House and Senate Judiciary
Committees. The report summarizes the redactions made in the preceding
year and explains why they were made. The first amendment mandates that
the report also be sent to the House Oversight and Government Reform
Committee, as well as the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental
Affairs Committee. The second amendment sunsets the redaction authority
after 6 years, in 2017.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">Mr. Speaker, I support H.R. 1059, as amended by the Senate, and urge
my colleagues to extend the redaction authority.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">I reserve the balance of my time.</speaking>
<speaker name="Mr. CONYERS">Mr. CONYERS</speaker>. <speaking name="Mr. CONYERS">Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. CONYERS">I want to commend the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, the
gentleman from Texas, Lamar Smith, for his cooperation in bringing this
bill out of committee and through the Congress.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. CONYERS">On September 12 of this year, my bill passed the House unanimously.
The requirement that judges and judicial branch employees disclose
their personal finances promotes openness in the Federal Government. It
reduces the risk of corruption, prevents the appearance of impropriety,
and also sheds some transparency on what we do in the third branch of
government.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. CONYERS">Unfortunately, sometimes these required disclosures can include
specific information about the filer's residence, a spouse's workplace,
a child's workplace, or a vacation home. This information has the
potential to place individual judges, employees, and their families at
risk. So what we're doing here is allowing a redaction by the Judicial
Conference. The bill's redaction authority is critical to ensuring that
this information does not get into the wrong hands and the whole idea
is to make sure that some of the Federal judges whose lives have been
lost and others whose family members have lost their lives by
disgruntled litigants will not be made available to them.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. CONYERS">The Judicial Conference is very careful in granting redaction
authority. And although I would have preferred a permanent redaction
authority, I'm perfectly willing to support a 6-year authority with
extension possibilities. I look forward to the President signing this
bill into law immediately.</speaking>
<speaking name="Mr. CONYERS">I have no further requests for time, and I yield back the balance of
my time.</speaking>
<speaker name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">Mr. SMITH of Texas</speaker>. <speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time
as well.</speaking>
<speaker name="The SPEAKER pro tempore">The SPEAKER pro tempore</speaker>. <speaking name="The SPEAKER pro tempore">The question is on the motion offered by the
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith) that the House suspend the rules and
concur in the Senate amendment to the bill, H.R. 1059.</speaking>
<recorder> The question was taken.</recorder>
<speaker name="The SPEAKER pro tempore">The SPEAKER pro tempore</speaker>. <speaking name="The SPEAKER pro tempore">In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.</speaking>
<speaker name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">Mr. SMITH of Texas</speaker>. <speaking name="Mr. SMITH of Texas">Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground
that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum
is not present.</speaking>
<speaker name="The SPEAKER pro tempore">The SPEAKER pro tempore</speaker>. <speaking name="The SPEAKER pro tempore">Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further
proceedings on this question will be postponed.</speaking>
<speaking name="The SPEAKER pro tempore">The point of no quorum is considered withdrawn.</speaking>
</CRDoc>
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