| 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] ...
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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