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                                                     Calendar No. 242
115th Congress        }                         {            Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session          }                         {             115-172 
======================================================================


   TO AMEND THE ETHICS IN GOVERNMENT ACT OF 1978 TO REAUTHORIZE THE 
     JUDICIAL CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED STATES TO REDACT SENSITIVE 
   INFORMATION CONTAINED IN FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REPORTS OF JUDICIAL 
             OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

                                _______
                                

                October 16, 2017.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Johnson, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1584]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 1584) to amend the 
Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to reauthorize the Judicial 
Conference of the United States to redact sensitive information 
contained in financial disclosure reports of judicial officers 
and employees, and for other purposes, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommends that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................1
III. Legislative History..............................................3
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................3
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................3
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................4
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............4

                         I. Purpose and Summary

    The purpose of S. 1584 is to permanently reauthorize the 
Judicial Conference of the United States' authority to redact 
sensitive information contained in financial disclosure reports 
of judicial officers and employees.

              II. Background and the Need for Legislation

    The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires that certain 
government officials, including judicial officers and certain 
employees, make public financial disclosures, among other 
things.\1\ The public may make requests to examine or receive a 
copy of financial disclosure reports in accordance with the 
procedure outlined in the statute.\2\
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    \1\5 U.S.C. app. Sec. 101, et. seq.
    \2\5 U.S.C. app. Sec. 105(a), (b)(2).
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    In 1998, Congress revised the Ethics in Government Act to 
provide limited protections for judicial officers and 
employees, in recognition of the fact that they are sometimes 
the subject of threats or even violence as a result of their 
public positions and the nature of their judicial work.\3\ 
Specifically, the 105th Congress granted the Judicial 
Conference the ability to redact certain limited information 
from financial disclosures reports when revealing personal and 
sensitive information could endanger that individual.''\4\ The 
authority was limited to just three years.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998, Pub. L. 
No. 105-318 (1998) [hereinafter Identity Theft Act]; 144 Cong. Rec. 
S12605 (daily ed. Oct. 14, 1998) (Statement of Sen. Patrick Leahy).
    \4\Identity Theft Act, Sec. 7 (codified at 5 U.S.C. app. 
Sec. 105(b)(3)(A)).
    \5\Identity Theft Act, Sec. 7 (codified as amended at 5 U.S.C. app. 
Sec. 105(b)(3)(E)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Since that time, Congress has periodically reauthorized the 
authority, each time for a limited number of years, requiring 
Congress to keep passing legislation to continue the 
authority.\6\ The last such extension was authorized by 
Congress in 2011.\7\ Under current law, the authority is set to 
expire on December 31, 2017.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\See Pub. L. No. 107-126 (2002) (extending the authority from 
2001 to 2005); Pub. L. No. 110-24 (2007) (extending the authority from 
2005 to 2009); and Pub. L. No. 110-177 (2008) (extending the authority 
from 2009 to 2011).
    \7\Pub. L. No. 112-84, Sec. 1(3) (2011).
    \8\5 U.S.C. app. Sec. 105(b)(3)(E).
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    The authority granted in the Judicial Conference is limited 
to ensure that it is carefully and rarely used. According to 
regulations issued by the Judicial Conference in 1999 and 
updated several times since, the Judicial Conference's 
Committee on Financial Disclosure is responsible for 
``approv[ing] or disapprov[ing] any requests for the redaction 
of statutorily mandated information where the release of the 
information could endanger a filer or a family member.''\9\ 
Specifically, a filer may request redactions of specific 
information ``to prevent public disclosure of personal or 
sensitive information that could endanger the filer or a family 
member directly, or indirectly by endangering another, if 
possessed by a member of the public hostile to the filer or a 
family member.''\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\Guide to Judicial Policy, Ch. 4 Judicial Conference Regulations 
on Access to Reports, Vol. 2: Ethics and Judicial Conduct, Pt. D: 
Financial Disclosure at Sec. 440(b), available at http://
www.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/guide-vol02d-ch04_0.pdf 
[hereinafter Guide to Judicial Policy].
    \10\Guide to Judicial Policy at Sec. 460.20(d).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    To have a request considered by the Judicial Conference, 
the filer ``must state with specificity what material is sought 
to be redacted'' and ``the reasons justifying redaction'' 
including but not limited to ``ongoing protective detail 
provided by the United States Marshals Service'', ``particular 
threats or inappropriate communications'', ``a high threat'' 
case, or ``certain information on the form that could endanger 
the filer or a family member directly or indirectly if 
possessed by a member of the public hostile to the filer or a 
family member.''\11\ Once the request and accompanying 
justification is received, the Judicial Conference works with 
the U.S. Marshals Service to assess the threat.\12\ The 
redaction may be granted only ``to the extent necessary to 
protect the individual'' and ``for as long as the danger to 
such individual exists.''\13\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\Id. at Sec. 460.20(d)(3).
    \12\ 5 U.S.C. app. Sec. 105(b)(3)(A); Guide to Judicial Policy at 
Sec. 460.20(d)(4).
    \13\ 5 U.S.C. app. Sec. 105(b)(3)(B).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Additionally, the Judicial Conference is required to 
provide annual reports to Congress on the number of filings 
that included redacted information, the type of information 
that was redacted, and the types of threats that requestors 
reported.\14\ According to the Judicial Conference, an average 
of only 2.7 percent of all financial disclosures have contained 
an approved redaction of some kind over the last five 
years.\15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \14\ Id. at Sec. 105(b)(3)(C).
    \15\ Information provided to Comm. Staff by the Judicial Conference 
(July 2017).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Given the limited authority granted to the Judicial 
Conference and the infrequency in which the authority is used, 
the Committee supports passing S. 1584--a permanent 
reauthorization of the authority--prior to its expiration on 
December 31, 2017.

                        III. Legislative History

    On July 19, 2017, Chairman Ron Johnson and Ranking Member 
Claire McCaskill introduced S. 1584, a bill to amend the Ethics 
in Government Act of 1978 to reauthorize the Judicial 
Conference of the United States to redact sensitive information 
contained in financial disclosure reports of judicial officers 
and employees, and for other purposes. The bill was referred to 
the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
    The Committee considered S. 1584 at a business meeting on 
July 27, 2017. No amendments were offered. The legislation was 
approved by voice vote en bloc with Senators Johnson, Portman, 
Lankford, Daines, McCaskill, Tester, Heitkamp, Peters, Hassan, 
and Harris present.

        IV. Section-by-Section Analysis of the Bill, as Reported


Section 1. Redaction authority concerning sensitive security 
        information

    Subsection (a) strikes the sunset clause that would have 
terminated the authority for the Judicial Conference to redact 
certain financial information on public disclosures at the end 
of calendar year 2017.
    Subsection (b) makes two technical corrections to the 
Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to fix unintended errors in 
the original act: it strikes an errant additional comma in one 
sentence and adds a comma in another sentence.

                   V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill and determined 
that the bill will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the Rule. The Committee agrees with the Congressional Budget 
Office's statement that the bill contains no intergovernmental 
or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments.

             VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                                   August 16, 2017.
Hon. Ron Johnson,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1584, a bill to 
amend the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to reauthorize the 
Judicial Conference of the United States to redact sensitive 
information contained in financial disclosure reports of 
judicial officers and employees, and for other purposes.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Janani 
Shankaran.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
            Enclosure.

S. 1584--A bill to amend the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to 
        reauthorize the Judicial Conference of the United States to 
        redact sensitive information contained in financial disclosure 
        reports of judicial officers and employees, and for other 
        purposes

    The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires certain 
government officials to file public disclosures of their 
financial and employment history. S. 1584 would permanently 
extend the authority of the Judicial Conference to redact 
sensitive information contained in financial disclosure reports 
of judicial officers and employees if the Judicial Conference 
determines that such disclosure could endanger the individual. 
Under current law, that authority expires on December 31, 2017.
    Based on information from the Administrative Office of the 
United States Courts regarding the number of requests to redact 
sensitive information, CBO estimates that implementing S. 1584 
would have no significant effect on the federal budget. 
Enacting S. 1584 would not affect direct spending or revenues; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 1584 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    S. 1584 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or trial governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Janani 
Shankaran. The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

       VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
S. 1584 as reported are shown as follows (existing law proposed 
to be omitted is enclosed in brackets, new matter is printed in 
italic, and existing law in which no change is proposed is 
shown in roman):

UNITED STATES CODE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


TITLE 5--GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION AND EMPLOYEES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


APPENDIX

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


ETHICS IN GOVERNMENT ACT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



TITLE I--FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS OF FEDERAL PERSONNEL

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 105. CUSTODY OF AND PUBLIC ACCESS TO REPORTS

    (a) * * *
    (b)
          (1) Except as provided in the second sentence of this 
        subsection, each agency, each supervising ethics office 
        in the executive or judicial branch, the Clerk of the 
        House of Representatives, and the Secretary of the 
        Senate shall, within thirty days after any report is 
        received under this title by such agency or office or 
        by the Clerk or the Secretary of the Senate, as the 
        case may be,[,] permit inspection of such report by or 
        furnish a copy of such report to any person requesting 
        such inspection or copy. With respect to any report 
        required to be filed by May 15 of any year, such report 
        shall be made available for public inspection within 30 
        calendar days after May 15 of such year or within 30 
        days of the date of filing of such a report for which 
        an extension is granted pursuant to section 101(g). The 
        agency, office, Clerk, or Secretary of the Senate, as 
        the case may be, may require a reasonable fee to be 
        paid in any amount which is found necessary to recover 
        the cost of reproduction or mailing of such report 
        excluding any salary of any employee involved in such 
        reproduction or mailing. A copy of such report may be 
        furnished without charge or at a reduced charge if it 
        is determined that waiver or reduction of the fee is in 
        the public interest.
          (2) * * *
          (3)
                  (A) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                  [(E) This paragraph shall expire on December 
                31, 2017, and apply to filings through calendar 
                year 2017.]

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


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