Home > 106th Congressional Bills > S. 1546 (es) To amend the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to provide additional administrative authorities to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, and to make technical corrections to that Act, and for other purpose...

S. 1546 (es) To amend the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to provide additional administrative authorities to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, and to make technical corrections to that Act, and for other purpose...


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        S.1546

                       One Hundred Sixth Congress

                                 of the

                        United States of America


                          AT THE FIRST SESSION

         Begun and held at the City of Washington on Wednesday,
   the sixth day of January, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine


                                 An Act


 
  To amend the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to provide 
additional administrative authorities to the United States Commission on 
 International Religious Freedom, and to make technical corrections to 
                    that Act, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITIES OF THE UNITED STATES COMMISSION 
ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.
    (a) Establishment and Composition.--Section 201 of the 
International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6401 et seq.) is 
amended--
        (1) in subsection (c)--
            (A) by striking ``The'' and inserting ``(1) In general.--
        The'';
        (2) by inserting after the first sentence the following new 
    sentences: ``The term of each member of the Commission appointed to 
    the first two-year term of the Commission shall be considered to 
    have begun on May 15, 1999, and shall end on May 14, 2001, 
    regardless of the date of appointment to the Commission. The term 
    of each member of the Commission appointed to the second two-year 
    term of the Commission shall begin on May 15, 2001, and shall end 
    on May 14, 2003, regardless of the date of appointment to the 
    Commission. In the case in which a vacancy in the membership of the 
    Commission is filled during a two-year term of the Commission, such 
    membership on the Commission shall terminate at the end of that 
    two-year term of the Commission.''; and
        (3) by amending subsection (h) to read as follows:
    ``(h) Administrative Support.--The Administrator of General 
Services shall provide to the Commission on a reimbursable basis (or, 
in the discretion of the Administrator, on a nonreimbursable basis) 
such administrative support services as the Commission may request to 
carry out the provisions of this title.''.
    (b) Powers of the Commission.--The International Religious Freedom 
Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6401 et seq.) is amended--
        (1) by striking section 202(f);
        (2) by redesignating sections 203, 204, 205, and 206 as 
    sections 205, 206, 207, and 209, respectively;
        (3) by inserting after section 202 the following:

``SEC. 203. POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.

    ``(a) Hearings and Sessions.--The Commission may, for the purpose 
of carrying out its duties under this title, hold hearings, sit and act 
at times and places in the United States, take testimony and receive 
evidence as the Commission considers advisable to carry out the 
purposes of this Act.
    ``(b) Information From Federal Agencies.--The Commission may secure 
directly from any Federal department or agency such information as the 
Commission considers necessary to carry out the provisions of this 
section. Upon request of the Chairperson of the Commission, the head of 
such department or agency shall furnish such information to the 
Commission, subject to applicable law.
    ``(c) Postal Services.--The Commission may use the United States 
mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other 
departments and agencies of the Federal Government.
    ``(d) Administrative Procedures.--The Commission may adopt such 
rules and regulations, relating to administrative procedure, as may be 
reasonably necessary to enable it to carry out the provisions of this 
title.
    ``(e) Views of the Commission.--The Members of the Commission may 
speak in their capacity as private citizens. Statements on behalf of 
the Commission shall be issued in writing over the names of the 
Members. The Commission shall in its written statements clearly 
describe its statutory authority, distinguishing that authority from 
that of appointed or elected officials of the United States Government. 
Oral statements, where practicable, shall include a similar 
description.
    ``(f) Travel.--The Members of the Commission may, with the approval 
of the Commission, conduct such travel as is necessary to carry out the 
purpose of this title. Each trip must be approved by a majority of the 
Commission. This provision shall not apply to the Ambassador-at-Large, 
whose travel shall not require approval by the Commission.

``SEC. 204. COMMISSION PERSONNEL MATTERS.

    ``(a) In General.--The Commission may, without regard to the civil 
service laws and regulations, appoint and terminate an Executive 
Director and such other additional personnel as may be necessary to 
enable the Commission to perform its duties. The decision to employ or 
terminate an Executive Director shall be made by an affirmative vote of 
at least six of the nine members of the Commission.
    ``(b) Compensation.--The Commission may fix the compensation of the 
Executive Director and other personnel without regard to the provisions 
of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United 
States Code, relating to classification of positions and General 
Schedule pay rates, except that the rate of pay for the Executive 
Director and other personnel may not exceed the rate payable for level 
V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.
    ``(c) Professional Staff.--The Commission and the Executive 
Director shall hire Commission staff on the basis of professional and 
nonpartisan qualifications. Commissioners may not individually hire 
staff of the Commission. Staff shall serve the Commission as a whole 
and may not be assigned to the particular service of a single 
Commissioner or a specified group of Commissioners. This subsection 
does not prohibit staff personnel from assisting individual members of 
the Commission with particular needs related to their duties.
    ``(d) Staff and Services of Other Federal Agencies.--
        ``(1) Department of state.--The Secretary of State shall assist 
    the Commission by providing on a reimbursable or nonreimbursable 
    basis to the Commission such staff and administrative services as 
    may be necessary and appropriate to perform its functions.
        ``(2) Other federal agencies.--Upon the request of the 
    Commission, the head of any Federal department or agency may 
    detail, on a reimbursable or nonreimbursable basis, any of the 
    personnel of that department or agency to the Commission to assist 
    it in carrying out its functions under this title. The detail of 
    any such personnel shall be without interruption or loss of civil 
    service or Foreign Service status or privilege.
    ``(e) Security Clearances.--The Executive Director shall be 
required to obtain a security clearance. The Executive Director may 
request, on a needs-only basis and in order to perform the duties of 
the Commission, that other personnel of the Commission be required to 
obtain a security clearance. The level of clearance shall be the lowest 
necessary to appropriately perform the duties of the Commission.
    ``(f) Cost.--The Commission shall reimburse all appropriate 
Government agencies for the cost of obtaining clearances for members of 
the commission, for the executive director, and for any other 
personnel.'';
        (4) in section 207(a) (as redesignated by this Act), by 
    striking all that follows ``3,000,000'' and inserting ``to carry 
    out the provisions of this title.''; and
        (5) by inserting after section 207 (as redesignated) the 
    following:

``SEC. 208. STANDARDS OF CONDUCT AND DISCLOSURE.

    ``(a) Cooperation With Nongovernmental Organizations, the 
Department of State, and Congress.--The Commission shall seek to 
effectively and freely cooperate with all entities engaged in the 
promotion of religious freedom abroad, governmental and 
nongovernmental, in the performance of the Commission's duties under 
this title.
    ``(b) Conflict of Interest and Antinepotism.--
        ``(1) Member affiliations.--Except as provided in paragraph 
    (3), in order to ensure the independence and integrity of the 
    Commission, the Commission may not compensate any nongovernmental 
    agency, project, or person related to or affiliated with any member 
    of the Commission, whether in that member's direct employ or not. 
    Staff employed by the Commission may not serve in the employ of any 
    nongovernmental agency, project, or person related to or affiliated 
    with any member of the Commission while employed by the Commission.
        ``(2) Staff compensation.--Staff of the Commission may not 
    receive compensation from any other source for work performed in 
    carrying out the duties of the Commission while employed by the 
    Commission.
        ``(3) Exception.--
            ``(A) In general.--Subject to subparagraph (B), paragraph 
        (1) shall not apply to payments made for items such as 
        conference fees or the purchase of periodicals or other similar 
        expenses, if such payments would not cause the aggregate value 
        paid to any agency, project, or person for a fiscal year to 
        exceed $250.
            ``(B) Limitation.--Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), the 
        Commission shall not give special preference to any agency, 
        project, or person related to or affiliated with any member of 
        the Commission.
        ``(4) Definitions.--In this subsection, the term `affiliated' 
    means the relationship between a member of the Commission and--
            ``(A) an individual who holds the position of officer, 
        trustee, partner, director, or employee of an agency, project, 
        or person of which that member, or relative of that member of, 
        the Commission is an officer, trustee, partner, director, or 
        employee; or
            ``(B) a nongovernmental agency or project of which that 
        member, or a relative of that member, of the Commission is an 
        officer, trustee, partner, director, or employee.
    ``(c) Contract Authority.--
        ``(1) In general.--Subject to the availability of 
    appropriations, the Commission may contract with and compensate 
    Government agencies or persons for the conduct of activities 
    necessary to the discharge of its functions under this title. Any 
    such person shall be hired without interruption or loss of civil 
    service or Foreign Service status or privilege. The Commission may 
    not procure temporary and intermittent services under section 
    3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, or under other contracting 
    authority other than that allowed under this title.
        ``(2) Expert study.--In the case of a study requested under 
    section 605 of this Act, the Commission may, subject to the 
    availability of appropriations, contract with experts and shall 
    provide the funds for such a study. The Commission shall not be 
    required to provide the funds for that part of the study conducted 
    by the Comptroller General of the United States.
    ``(d) Gifts.--
        ``(1) In general.--In order to preserve its independence, the 
    Commission may not accept, use, or dispose of gifts or donations of 
    services or property. An individual Commissioner or employee of the 
    Commission may not, in his or her capacity as a Commissioner or 
    employee, knowingly accept, use or dispose of gifts or donations of 
    services or property, unless he or she in good faith believes such 
    gifts or donations to have a value of less than $50 and a 
    cumulative value during a calendar year of less than $100.
        ``(2) Exceptions.--This subsection shall not apply to the 
    following:
            ``(A) Gifts provided on the basis of a personal friendship 
        with a Commissioner or employee, unless the Commissioner or 
        employee has reason to believe that the gift was provided 
        because of the Commissioner's position and not because of the 
        personal friendship.
            ``(B) Gifts provided on the basis of a family relationship.
            ``(C) The acceptance of training, invitations to attend or 
        participate in conferences or such other events as are related 
        to the conduct of the duties of the Commission, or food or 
        refreshment associated with such activities.
            ``(D) Items of nominal value or gifts of estimated value of 
        $10 or less.
            ``(E) De minimis gifts provided by a foreign leader or 
        state, not exceeding a value of $260. Gifts believed by 
        Commissioners to be in excess of $260, but which would create 
        offense or embarrassment to the United States Government if 
        refused, shall be accepted and turned over to the United States 
        Government in accordance with the Foreign Gifts and Decorations 
        Act of 1966 and the rules and regulations governing such gifts 
        provided to Members of Congress.
            ``(F) Informational materials such as documents, books, 
        videotapes, periodicals, or other forms of communications.
            ``(G) Goods or services provided by any agency or component 
        of the Government of the United States, including any 
        commission established under the authority of such Government.
    ``(e) Annual Financial Report.--In addition to providing the 
reports required under section 202, the Commission shall provide, each 
year no later than January 1, to the Committees on International 
Relations and Appropriations of the House of Representatives, and to 
the Committees on Foreign Relations and Appropriations of the Senate, a 
financial report detailing and identifying its expenditures for the 
preceding fiscal year.''.
    (c) Authorization of Appropriations.--Section 209 of the 
International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6436) (as 
redesignated) is amended by striking ``4 years after the initial 
appointment of all the Commissioners'' and inserting ``on May 14, 
2003''.

SEC. 2. TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS.

    (a) Presidential Actions.--Section 402(c) of the International 
Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6442(c)) is amended--
        (1) in paragraph (1), in the text above subparagraph (A), by 
    striking ``and (4)'' and inserting ``(4), and (5)''; and
        (2) in paragraph (4)--
            (A) by inserting ``under this act'' after ``Exception for 
        ongoing presidential action'';
            (B) by inserting ``and'' at the end of subparagraph (B);
            (C) by striking at the end of subparagraph (C) ``; and'' 
        and inserting a period; and
            (D) in subparagraph (D), by striking ``(D) at'' and 
        inserting ``(5) Exception for ongoing, multiple, broad-based 
        sanctions in response to human rights violations.--At''.
    (b) Clerical Correction.--Section 201(b)(1)(B)(iii) of the 
International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 
6431(b)(1)(B)(iii)) is amended by striking ``three'' and inserting 
``Three''.

                               Speaker of the House of Representatives.

                            Vice President of the United States and    
                                               President of the Senate.

Pages: 1

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