WASHINGTON – Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., Thursday released a Congressional Research Service memorandum regarding financial disclosure requirements for appointees to the commission investigating the September 11th attacks.
The memo concludes that: The September 11th commission clearly qualifies as a legislative branch commission. The Senate Ethics Committee is responsible for enforcing the Ethics in Government Act of 1978. All members of the commission fall under the jurisdiction of the Senate Ethics Committee, even if appointed by the president. As the CRS reported last week, if a commissioner works more than 60 days he or she must disclose assets, income, liabilities, positions held, and clients who paid more than $5,000 over the course of two years for his or her services. The CRS cited a number of precedents, including a 1989 published opinion by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. In that opinion, the Office of Legal Counsel ruled that a commission on railroad retirement reform was a legislative branch commission, despite the fact that four of the commission’s seven members were appointed by the president. The Office of Legal Counsel concluded, it was without authority to advise the commission regarding commissioners’ conflicts of interest and financial disclosure.
For a copy of the CRS report and the1989 opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, please click on the links below.