Title VI - Executive Branch Transparency
Sec. 601. Reporting requirements and online disclosure relating to significant contacts.
In General- The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App. 4) is amended by adding at the end the following new title:
`TITLE VI—EXECUTIVE BRANCH DISCLOSURE OF SIGNIFICANT CONTACTS
`SEC. 601. RECORDING AND REPORTING BY CERTAIN EXECUTIVE BRANCH OFFICIALS OF SIGNIFICANT CONTACTS MADE TO THOSE OFFICIALS.
`(a) In General- Not later than 10 days after the end of each month, each covered executive branch official shall make a record of, and file with the Office of Government Ethics a report on, any significant contacts during the quarter between the covered executive branch official and any private party relating to an official government action. If no such contacts occurred, each such official shall make a record of, and file with the Office a report on, this fact, at the same time.
`(b) Contents of Record and Report- Each record made, and each report filed, under subsection (a) shall contain—
`(1) the name of the covered executive branch official;
`(2) the name of each private party who had a significant contact with that official; and
`(3) for each private party so named, a summary of the nature of the contact, including—
`(A) the date of the contact;
`(B) the subject matter of the contact and the specific executive branch action to which the contact relates; and
`(C) if the contact was made on behalf of a client, the name of the client.
`(c) Withholding FOIA-Exempt Information- This section does not require the filing with the Office of Government Ethics of information that is exempt from public disclosure under section 552(b) of title 5, United States Code (popularly referred to as the `Freedom of Information Act’).
`SEC. 602. AUTHORITIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS.
`(a) In General- The Director of the Office of Government Ethics shall—
`(1) promulgate regulations to implement this title, provide guidance and assistance on the recording and reporting requirements of this title, and develop common standards, rules, and procedures for compliance with this title;
`(2) review, and, where necessary, verify the accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of reports;
`(3) develop filing, coding, and cross-indexing systems to carry out the purpose of this title, including—
`(A) a publicly available list of all private parties who made a significant contact; and
`(B) computerized systems designed to minimize the burden of filing and maximize public access to reports filed under this title;
`(4) make the reports filed under this title available to the public in a searchable, sortable, downloadable database format on the OGE Web site.
`(5) retain reports for a period of at least six years after they are filed;
`(6) compile and summarize, with respect to each reporting period, the information contained in reports filed with respect to such period in a clear and complete manner;
`(7) notify any covered executive branch official in writing that may be in noncompliance with this title; and
`(8) notify the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia that a covered executive branch official may be in noncompliance with this title, if the covered executive branch official has been notified in writing and has failed to provide an appropriate response within 60 days after notice was given under paragraph (7).
`SEC. 603. PENALTIES.
`(a) Violation- Whoever violates this title shall be subject to administrative sanctions, up to and including termination of employment.
`(b) Deliberate Attempt To Conceal- Whoever deliberately attempts to conceal a significant contact in violation of this title shall upon proof of such deliberate violation by a preponderance of the evidence, be subject to a civil fine of not more than $50,000, depending on the extent and gravity of the violation.
`SEC. 604. DEFINITIONS.
`In this title:
`(1) COVERED EXECUTIVE BRANCH OFFICIAL- The term `covered executive branch official’ means—
`(A) any officer or employee serving in a position in level I, II, III, IV, or V of the Executive Schedule, as designated by statute or Executive Order;
`(B) any member of the uniformed services whose pay grade is at or above O-7 under section 201 of title 37, United States Code;
`(C) any officer or employee serving in a position of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character described in section 7511(b)(2)(B) of title 5, United States Code;
`(D) any noncareer appointee, as defined by section 3132(a)(7) of title 5, United States Code; and
`(E) any officer or employee serving in a position of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy advocating character, or any other individual functioning in the capacity of such an officer or employee, in the Executive Office of the President or the Office of the Vice President, but does not include the President or Vice President or the chief of staff of the President or Vice President.
`(2) SIGNIFICANT CONTACT-
`(A) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the term `significant contact’ means oral or written communication (including electronic communication) that is made by a private party to a covered executive branch official in which such private party seeks to influence official action by any officer or employee of the executive branch of the United States.
`(B) EXCEPTION- The term `significant contact’ does not include any communication that is an exception to the definition of `lobbying contact’—
`(i) under clauses (i) through (vii) or clauses (ix) through (xix) of subparagraph (B) of paragraph (8) of section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1602(8)(i)-(vii) or (ix)-(xix)); or
`(ii) with respect to publicly available information only, under clause (viii) of subparagraph (B) of paragraph (8) of section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1602(8)(viii)).
`(3) PRIVATE PARTY- The term `private party’ means any person or entity, but does not include a Federal, State, or local government official or a person representing such an official.’.