Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 4997 (ih) To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to revise and improve the Medicare-dependent, small rural hospital program. [Introduced in House] ...

H.R. 4997 (ih) To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to revise and improve the Medicare-dependent, small rural hospital program. [Introduced in House] ...


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108th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 4996

 To enhance Federal Trade Commission enforcement against cross-border 
                          fraud and deception.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             July 22, 2004

 Mr. Stearns (for himself and Ms. Schakowsky) introduced the following 
    bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To enhance Federal Trade Commission enforcement against cross-border 
                          fraud and deception.

    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 referred to as the ``International Consumer 
Protection Act of 2004''.

SEC. 2. FOREIGN LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY DEFINED.

    Section 4 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 44) is 
amended by adding at the end the following:
    `` `Foreign law enforcement agency' means--
            ``(A) any agency or judicial authority of a foreign 
        government, including a foreign state, a political subdivision 
        of a foreign state, or a multinational organization constituted 
        by and comprised of foreign states, that is vested with law 
        enforcement or investigative authority in civil, criminal, or 
        administrative matters; and
            ``(B) any multinational or multiagency organization to the 
        extent that it is acting on behalf of an entity described in 
        subparagraph (A).''.

SEC. 3. AVAILABILITY OF REMEDIES.

    Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45(a)) 
is amended by adding at the end the following:
    ``(4)(A) For purposes of this subsection, the term `unfair or 
deceptive acts or practices' shall include such acts or practices 
involving foreign commerce that--
            ``(i) cause or are likely to cause reasonably foreseeable 
        injury within the United States; or
            ``(ii) involve material conduct occurring within the United 
        States.
    ``(B) All remedies available to the Commission with respect to 
unfair and deceptive acts or practices shall be available for acts and 
practices described in this paragraph, including restitution to 
domestic or foreign victims.''.

SEC. 4. POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.

    (a) Publication of Information; Reports.--Section 6(f) of the 
Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 46(f)) is amended--
            (1) by inserting ``(1)'' after ``such information'' the 
        first place it appears; and
            (2) by striking ``purposes.'' and inserting ``purposes, and 
        (2) to any officer or employee of any foreign law enforcement 
        agency under the same circumstances that making material 
        available to foreign law enforcement agencies is permitted 
        under section 21(b).''.
    (b) Other Powers of the Commission.--Section 6 of the Federal Trade 
Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 46) is further amended by inserting after 
subsection (i) and before the proviso the following:
    ``(j) Investigative Assistance for Foreign Law Enforcement 
Agencies.--
            ``(1) In general.--Upon a written request from a foreign 
        law enforcement agency to provide assistance in accordance with 
        this subsection, if the requesting agency states that it is 
        investigating, or engaging in enforcement proceedings against, 
        possible violations of laws prohibiting fraudulent or deceptive 
        commercial practices, or other practices substantially similar 
        to practices prohibited by any provision of the laws 
        administered by the Commission, other than Federal antitrust 
        laws (as defined in section 12(5) of the International 
        Antitrust Enforcement Assistance Act of 1994 (15 U.S.C. 
        6211(5))), the Commission may provide the assistance described 
        in paragraph (2) without requiring that the conduct identified 
        in the request constitute a violation of the laws of the United 
        States.
            ``(2) Type of assistance.--In providing assistance to a 
        foreign law enforcement agency under this subsection, the 
        Commission may--
                    ``(A) conduct such investigation as the Commission 
                deems necessary to collect information and evidence 
                pertinent to the request for assistance, using all 
                investigative powers authorized by this Act; and
                    ``(B) when the request is from an agency acting to 
                investigate or pursue the enforcement of civil laws, or 
                when the Attorney General refers a request to the 
                Commission from an agency acting to investigate or 
                pursue the enforcement of criminal laws, seek and 
                accept appointment by a United States district court of 
                Commission attorneys to provide assistance to foreign 
                and international tribunals and to litigants before 
                such tribunals on behalf of a foreign law enforcement 
                agency pursuant to section 1782 of title 28, United 
                States Code.
            ``(3) Criteria for determination.--In deciding whether to 
        provide such assistance, the Commission shall consider all 
        relevant factors, including--
                    ``(A) whether the requesting agency has agreed to 
                provide or will provide reciprocal assistance to the 
                Commission;
                    ``(B) whether compliance with the request would 
                prejudice the public interest of the United States; and
                    ``(C) whether the requesting agency's investigation 
                or enforcement proceeding concerns acts or practices 
                that cause or are likely to cause injury to a 
                significant number of persons.
            ``(4) International agreements.--If a foreign law 
        enforcement agency has set forth a legal basis for requiring 
        execution of an international agreement as a condition for 
        reciprocal assistance, or as a condition for provision of 
        materials or information to the Commission, the Commission, 
        with prior approval and ongoing oversight of the Secretary of 
        State, and with final approval of the agreement by the 
        Secretary of State, may negotiate and conclude an international 
        agreement, in the name of either the United States or the 
        Commission, for the purpose of obtaining such assistance, 
        materials, or information. The Commission may undertake in such 
        an international agreement to--
                    ``(A) provide assistance using the powers set forth 
                in this subsection;
                    ``(B) disclose materials and information in 
                accordance with subsection (f) and section 21(b); and
                    ``(C) engage in further cooperation, and protect 
                materials and information received from disclosure, as 
                authorized by this Act.
            ``(5) Additional authority.--The authority provided by this 
        subsection is in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other 
        authority vested in the Commission or any other officer of the 
        United States.
            ``(6) Limitation.--The authority granted by this subsection 
        shall not authorize the Commission to take any action or 
        exercise any power with respect to a bank, a savings and loan 
        institution described in section 18(f)(3) (15 U.S.C. 
        57a(f)(3)), a Federal credit union described in section 
        18(f)(4) (15 U.S.C. 57a(f)(4)), or a common carrier subject to 
        the Act to regulate commerce, except in accordance with the 
        proviso following the last designated subsection of section 6 
        (15 U.S.C. 46).
            ``(7) Assistance to certain countries.--The Commission may 
        not provide investigative assistance under this subsection to a 
        foreign law enforcement agency from a foreign state that the 
        Secretary of State has determined, in accordance with section 
        6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (50 U.S.C. App. 
        2405(j)), has repeatedly provided support for acts of 
        international terrorism, unless and until such determination is 
        rescinded pursuant to section 6(j)(4) of that Act (50 U.S.C. 
        App. 2405(j)(4)).
    ``(k) Referral of Evidence for Criminal Proceedings.--
            ``(1) In general.--Whenever the Commission obtains evidence 
        that any person, partnership, or corporation, either domestic 
        or foreign, has engaged in conduct that may constitute a 
        violation of Federal criminal law, the Commission may transmit 
        such evidence to the Attorney General, who may institute 
        criminal proceedings under appropriate statutes. Nothing in 
        this paragraph affects any other authority of the Commission to 
        disclose information.
            ``(2) International information.--The Commission shall 
        endeavor to ensure, with respect to memoranda of understanding 
        and international agreements it may conclude, that material it 
        has obtained from foreign law enforcement agencies acting to 
        investigate or pursue the enforcement of foreign criminal laws 
        may be used for the purpose of investigation, prosecution, or 
        prevention of violations of United States criminal laws.
    ``(l) Expenditures for Cooperative Arrangements.--The Commission 
may expend appropriated funds for--
            ``(1) operating expenses and other costs of bilateral and 
        multilateral cooperative law enforcement groups conducting 
        activities of interest to the Commission and in which the 
        Commission participates; and
            ``(2) expenses for consultations and meetings hosted by the 
        Commission with foreign government agency officials, members of 
        their delegations, appropriate representatives and staff to 
        exchange views concerning developments relating to the 
        Commission's mission, development and implementation of 
        cooperation agreements, and provision of technical assistance 
        for the development of foreign consumer protection or 
        competition regimes, such expenses to include necessary 
        administrative and logistic expenses and the expenses of 
        Commission staff and foreign invitees in attendance at such 
        consultations and meetings including--
                    ``(A) such incidental expenses as meals taken in 
                the course of such attendance;
                    ``(B) any travel and transportation to or from such 
                meetings; and
                    ``(C) any other related lodging or subsistence.''.
    (c) Authorization of Appropriations.--The Federal Trade Commission 
is authorized to expend appropriated funds not to exceed $100,000 per 
fiscal year for purposes of section 6(l) of the Federal Trade 
Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 46(l)) (as added by subsection (b) of this 
Act), including operating expenses and other costs of the following 
bilateral and multilateral cooperative law enforcement agencies and 
organizations:
            (1) The International Consumer Protection and Enforcement 
        Network.
            (2) The International Competition Network.
            (3) The Mexico-U.S.-Canada Health Fraud Task Force.
            (4) Project Emptor.
            (5) The Toronto Strategic Partnership and other regional 
        partnerships with a nexus in a Canadian province.
    (d) Conforming Amendment.--Section 6 of the Federal Trade 
Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 46) is amended by striking ``clauses (a) and 
(b)'' in the proviso following subsection (l) (as added by subsection 
(b) of this section) and inserting ``subsections (a), (b), and (j)''.

SEC. 5. REPRESENTATION IN FOREIGN LITIGATION.

    Section 16 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 56) is 
amended by adding at the end the following:
    ``(c) Foreign Litigation.--
            ``(1) Commission attorneys.--With the concurrence of the 
        Attorney General, the Commission may designate Commission 
        attorneys to assist the Attorney General in connection with 
        litigation in foreign courts on particular matters in which the 
        Commission has an interest.
            ``(2) Reimbursement for foreign counsel.--The Commission is 
        authorized to expend appropriated funds, upon agreement with 
        the Attorney General, to reimburse the Attorney General for the 
        retention of foreign counsel for litigation in foreign courts, 
        and for expenses related to litigation in foreign courts in 
        which the Commission has an interest.
            ``(3) Limitation on use of funds.--Nothing in this 
        subsection authorizes the payment of claims or judgments from 
        any source other than the permanent and indefinite 
        appropriation authorized by section 1304 of title 31, United 
        States Code.
            ``(4) Other authority.--The authority provided by this 
        subsection is in addition to any other authority of the 
        Commission or the Attorney General.''.

SEC. 6. SHARING INFORMATION WITH FOREIGN LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES.

    (a) Material Obtained Pursuant to Compulsory Process.--Section 
21(b)(6) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 57b-2(b)(6)) is 
amended by adding at the end the following: ``The custodian may make 
such material available to any foreign law enforcement agency upon the 
prior certification of an appropriate official of any such foreign law 
enforcement agency, either by a prior agreement or memorandum of 
understanding with the Commission or by other written certification, 
that such material will be maintained in confidence and will be used 
only for official law enforcement purposes, if--
            ``(A) the foreign law enforcement agency has set forth a 
        bona fide legal basis for its authority to maintain the 
        material in confidence;
            ``(B) the materials are to be used for purposes of 
        investigating, or engaging in enforcement proceedings related 
        to, possible violations of--
                    ``(i) foreign laws prohibiting fraudulent or 
                deceptive commercial practices or other practices 
                substantially similar to practices prohibited by any 
                law administered by the Commission;
                    ``(ii) a law administered by the Commission, if 
                disclosure of the material would further a Commission 
                investigation or enforcement proceeding; or
                    ``(iii) with the approval of the Attorney General, 
                other foreign criminal laws, if such foreign criminal 
                laws are offenses defined in or covered by a criminal 
                mutual legal assistance treaty in force between the 
                government of the United States and the foreign law 
                enforcement agency's government;
            ``(C) the appropriate Federal banking agency (as defined in 
        section 3(q) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 
        1813(q))) or, in the case of a Federal credit union, the 
        National Credit Union Administration, has given its prior 
        approval if the materials to be provided under subparagraph (B) 
        are requested by the foreign law enforcement agency for the 
        purpose of investigating, or engaging in enforcement 
        proceedings based on, possible violations of law by a bank, a 
        savings and loan institution described in section 18(f)(3) of 
        the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 57a(f)(3)), or a 
        Federal credit union described in section 18(f)(4) of the 
        Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 57a(f)(4)); and
            ``(D) the foreign law enforcement agency is not from a 
        country that the Secretary of State has determined, in 
        accordance with section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act 

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