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Legislative Committees

Ethics

National House Committee

1015 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515-6328

Phone: 202-225-7103

Fax: 202-225-7392

Web Address:


 

The jurisdiction of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct is derived from authority granted under House Rules and federal statutes. The scope of the Committee's jurisdiction under the various authorizing rules and statutes is given below.

House Rule X, clause 1(q)

The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct has jurisdiction over all bills, resolutions and other matters relating to the Code of Official Conduct adopted under House Rule XXIII.

House Rule XI, clause 3

With respect to Members, officers, and employees of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct is authorized to undertake the following actions:

A) Recommend administrative actions to establish or enforce standards of official conduct.

B) Investigate alleged violations of the Code of Official Conduct or of any applicable rules, laws, or regulations governing the performance of official duties or the discharge of official responsibilities. Such investigations must be made in accordance with Committee rules .

C) Report to appropriate federal or State authorities substantial evidence of a violation of any law applicable to the performance of official duties that may have been disclosed in a Committee investigation. Such reports must be approved by the House or by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Committee.

D) Render advisory opinions regarding the propriety of any current or proposed conduct of a Member, officer, or employee, and issue general guidance on such matters as necessary.

E) Consider requests for written waivers of the gift rule (clause 5 of House Rule XXV)


House Rule XXV, clause 5(h)

All provisions of the gift rule are to be interpreted and enforced solely by the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. The Committee is authorized to issue guidance on any matter contained in the rule.

Ethics in Government Act (5 U.S.C. app. 4 § 101 et seq.; adopted as House Rule XXVI)

The Ethics in Government Act (EIGA) designates the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct as the "supervising ethics office" for the House of Representatives and charges the Committee with duties and responsibilities for Financial Disclosure Statements (Title I) and for Outside Employment (Title V) with respect to Members, officers, and employees of the House of Representatives.

The statute also charges the Committee with duties and responsibilities with regard to (1) the Financial Disclosure Statements of candidates for the House, and (2) the Financial Disclosure Statements and Outside Employment of officers and employees of certain legislative branch agencies, including the Library of Congress, the Congressional Budget Office, the Government Printing Office, the Architect of the Capitol, the United States Capitol Police, and the United States Botanic Garden. However, the Committee has delegated much of its authority with regard to the officers and employees of those agencies to the heads of those agencies.

Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act (5 U.S.C. § 7342)

The Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act designates the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct as the "employing agency" for the House of Representatives and charges the Committee to administer the provisions of the FGDA with respect to Members, officers, and employees of the House of Representatives.


Gifts to Superiors (5 U.S.C. § 7351)

Under 5 U.S.C. § 7351 , the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct is designated the "supervising ethics office" for the House of Representatives and charges the Committee with duties and responsibilities regarding the statutory prohibitions against Members, officers, and employees of the House of Representatives giving gifts to an official superior or receiving gifts from employees with a lower salary level.

Committee authority with regard to the employees of certain legislative branch agencies has been delegated to the heads of those agencies (see the section on the Ethics in Government Act above).


Gifts to Federal Employees (5 U.S.C. § 7353)

Under 5 U.S.C. § 7353 , the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct is designated the "supervising ethics office" for the House of Representatives and charges the Committee with duties and responsibilities regarding the statutory prohibitions against Members, officers, and employees of the House of Representatives soliciting or receiving gifts.

Committee authority with regard to the employees of certain legislative branch agencies has been delegated to the heads of those agencies (see the section on the Ethics in Government Act above).

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