Legislative Committees

Select Committee on Ethics

National Senate Committee

220 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510-6425

Phone: 202-224-2981

Fax: 202-224-7416

Web Address:


 

The jurisdiction of the United States Senate Select Committee on Ethics is derived from the Constitution and authority granted under law and Senate rules. The scope of the Committee's jurisdiction is as follows.

Article 1, § 5, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution

"Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member."

Senate Resolution 338 (88th Congress), as amended

The Senate Select Committee on Ethics is authorized to receive and investigate allegations of improper conduct which may reflect upon the Senate, violations of law, violations of the Senate Code of Official Conduct and violations of rules and regulations of the Senate; recommend disciplinary action; recommend additional Senate rules or regulations to insure proper standards of conduct; and report violations of law to the proper federal and state authorities.

Preamble to Senate Resolution 266, 90th Congress, 2d Session, March 22, 1968

The Preamble to S. Res. 266, by which the Senate Code of Official Conduct was first adopted, provides that:

(a) The ideal concept of public office, expressed by the words, "a public office is a public trust," signifies that the officer has been entrusted with public power by the people; that the officer holds this power in trust to be used only for their benefit and never for the benefit of himself or of a few; and that the officer must never conduct his own affairs so as to infringe on the public interest. All official conduct of Members of the Senate should be guided by this paramount concept of public office.

(b) These rules, as the written expression of certain standards of conduct, complement the body of unwritten but generally accepted standards that continue to apply to the Senate.

The Code of Ethics for Government Service, H. Con. Res. 175 (85th Congress)

The Code of Ethics for Government Service sets out ten standards of conduct that should be adhered to by all government employees, including officeholders.

Senate Resolution 400 (94th Congress), Section 8

The Senate Select Committee on Ethics is authorized to investigate unauthorized disclosures of intelligence information by a Member, officer, or employee of the Senate and to report to the Senate on any substantiated allegation.
Franking (39 U.S.C. § 3210)

The Senate Select Committee on Ethics is authorized to provide guidance and promulgate rules regarding the Frank. The Committee may investigate complaints involving a violation of the Franking statute.

Ethics in Government Act (5 U.S.C. app. 4 § 101 et seq.; adopted as Senate Rules 34 and 36)

The Ethics in Government Act designates the Senate Select Committee on Ethics as the "supervising ethics office" for the Senate 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 Senate.

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

The Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act (FGDA) designates the Senate Select Committee on Ethics as the "employing agency" for the Senate and charges the Committee with administering the provisions of the FGDA with respect to Members, officers, and employees of the United States Senate.

Gifts to Superiors (5 U.S.C. § 7351)

The Senate Select Committee on Ethics is designated the "supervising ethics office" for the Senate and charges the Committee with duties and responsibilities regarding the statutory prohibitions against Members, officers, and employees of the Senate giving gifts to an official superior or receiving gifts from employees with a lower salary level.

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

The Senate Select Committee on Ethics is designated the "supervising ethics office" for the Senate and charges the Committee with duties and responsibilities regarding the statutory prohibitions against Members, officers, and employees of the Senate soliciting or receiving gifts.