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LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITIES

DAO 218-1: LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITIES
Number: DAO 218-1
Effective Date: 1963-06-20

SECTION 1. PURPOSE.

The purpose of this order is to outline the duties and policies of the Department of Commerce with respect to legislative activities.

SECTION 2. SCOPE.

.01 The provisions of this order apply to activities with respect to:

Recommendations or proposals initiated within the Department for new legislation or changes in existing legislation;

Request from the Bureau of the Budget, the Congress, including any officer, committee member or employee, and elsewhere, for reports or comments on proposed or pending legislation, whether addressed to the Department, any office or bureau thereof, or to any officer or employee in his official capacity;

Reports on enrolled bills and resolutions;

Oral testimony before Congressional committees; and

Legislative coordination activities of the Department and its constituent units which do not include Congressional relations.

.02 The provisions of this order also apply to proposed Executive Orders, Executive proclamations, Executive letters, and similar documents having the force and effect of law.

SECTION 3. RESPONSIBILITIES FOR LEGISLATIVE REPORTING.

.01 By virtue of Executive Order 8248 of September 8, 1939, the Bureau of the Budget is responsible for assisting the President on legislative matters by coordinating and clearing agency reports on proposed and pending legislation and by obtaining agency views and recommending Presidential action on legislative enactments. In carrying out this responsibility, the Bureau of the Budget has issued Circular No. A-19 (Revised), "Procedures for the coordination and clearance of agency recommendations on proposed, pending and enrolled legislation," establishing the requirements on legislative reporting to be met by the Executive departments and establishments.

.02 The General Counsel of the Department is assigned responsibility under the provisions of Department Order No. 104 (Revised), for supervising and coordinating the legislative program of the Department and its constituent units. To this end:

Those legislative coordination activities of the Department of Commerce and its constituent units which do not include Congressional relations are to be conducted under the direct supervision of the General Counsel of the Department; and

All inquiries or requests for reports, data, testimony or technical assistance on legal matters or legislation by Congressional committees, Congressmen, or their staff members shall be reported immediately to the Department General Counsel in order that the response may be properly coordinated within the Department and be promptly disposed of;

The Office of the General Counsel of the Department of Commerce shall exercise the function of preparing or reviewing all legislative proposals, report, data or testimony concerning legal or legislative matters originating in or required from the Department of Commerce or its constituent units, as well as all reports, data or comments requested of the Department or its constituent units in connection with proposed Executive Orders, Executive proclamations, and similar documents having the force and effect of law. All information on the preparation and clearance of legislation as well as testimony and reports on legislation or legal matters should be obtained from the Office of the General Counsel; and

The General Counsel will issue instructions from time to time with respect to legislative matters.

.03 The head of each primary organization unit of the Department and the head of each constituent unit of the Office of the Secretary is responsible for the handling of legislative matters concerning that unit, subject to the provisions of this order, and of Department Order No. ______ establishing the Office of Congressional Relations.

SECTION 4. RELEASE OF INFORMATION ON LEGISLATIVE MATTERS.

.01 Bureau of the Budget Circular No. A-19 provides that with respect to legislative proposals originating within the Department, only those proposals which have been "coordinated within the Executive Branch in accordance with the provisions of the circular" and which the agency has been advised do not conflict with the President's program will be submitted to the Congress on our initiative and with our endorsement. In order that this requirement may be met, personnel of the Department will not transmit outside the Department any legislative proposal originating with the Department unless permission for such release has been received from the General Counsel.

.02 When committees of the Congress are meeting in executive or closed session, the proceedings are to be regarded as confidential until the information developed therein is released by the committees. Members of the Department or its constituent units attending such sessions should, therefore, not disclose or discuss with any person (other than within the Department as they may be required to do so in the conduct of official business) any of the business of the committee, except upon the express authority of the Secretary or the General Counsel as either of them deem necessary to the conduct of the official business within the Executive Branch.

.03 Legislative reports, written statements of testimony, and declarations as to the position of the Department or its constituent units with respect to pending or proposed legislative matters are primarily communications for the use and assistance of the sources requesting the information. Therefore, these matters likewise shall not be disclosed or discussed outside the Department prior to publication, except upon the authority of the Secretary of the General Counsel.

SECTION 5. LEGISLATIVE REFERENCE MATERIALS AND SERVICES.

All requirements of Department personnel for copies of Congressional material noted in the Congressional Record, copies of acts, bills, committee reports, and the like, should be referred for handling to the Sales and Distribution Section, Office of Administrative Operations.

SECTION 6. PROHIBITION AGAINST INFLUENCING LEGISLATION.

.01 Title 18 U.S.C. 1913 is quoted below for the information and guidance of all members of the Department:

"No part of the money appropriated by any enactment of Congress shall, in the absence of express authorization by Congress, be used directly or indirectly to pay for any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter, or other device, intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress, to favor or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation or appropriation by Congress, whether before or after the introduction of any bill or resolution proposing such legislation or appropriation; but this shall not prevent officers or employees of the United States or of its departments or agencies from communicating to Members of Congress on the request of any Member or to Congress, through the proper official channels, requests for legislation or appropriations which they deem necessary for the efficient conduct of the public business.

"Whoever, being an officer or employee of the United States or of any department or agency thereof, violates or attempts to violate this section, shall be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and after notice and hearing by the superior officer vested with the power of removing him, shall be removed from office or employment."

.02 The Lloyd-LaFollette Act (37 Stat. 555; 5 U.S.C. 652), however, protects the rights of employees to petition or to furnish information to Congress, as follows:

"The rights of persons employed in the civil service of the United States, either individually or collectively, to petition Congress, or any member thereof, or to furnish information to either House of Congress, or to any committee or members thereof, shall not be denied or interfered with."

SECTION 7. EFFECT ON OTHER ORDER.

This order supersedes Administrative Order No. 201-13 dated July 13, 1959.

Signed by: General Counsel

Approved by: Assistant Secretary for Administration


Attachment:
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

OFFICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL

February 13, 1962

INSTRUCTIONS FOR LEGISLATIVE REPORTING PURSUANT TO ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER 218-1

Legislative activities which by Department Order No. 104 to be supervised and coordinated by the General Counsel, comprise a very important function of the Department. Prompt, concise and responsive replies to requests from Committees or individual Members of the Congress, the Bureau of the Budget and others with respect to legislative proposals must be the objectives of the Department. In order that matters relating to legislation may be handled promptly and in a uniform manner, there is set forth herein the procedure to be followed.

These instructions supersede the instructions issued December 11, 1958.


For the purpose of these instructions:

The term General Counsel's Office shall mean the General Counsel, Deputy General Counsel any member of the Legislative Division.

The term Legislation shall include, in addition to the customary legislative activities, Executive Orders, Executive Proclamations, Executive letters, and similar documents.

The term "legislative request" shall mean any request for or proffer of:

The views of the Department, its officers and constituent units on legislation;

Testimony by the Department, its officers and constituent units before Congressional Committees; and

Technical assistance with respect to legislation.

REPORTS


Requests for views of the Department

Upon receipt of a legislative request in the Secretary's Office, it is forwarded to the General Counsel's Office where an appropriate acknowledgment is prepared. Bureaus receiving any such requests directly should acknowledge and refer them to the General Counsel for further handling.

The General Counsel 's Office will sent a memorandum to the bureaus or offices which appear to be concerned, with information copies to other interested officers. To assist all officers in planning their legislative work, the General Counsel's Office will establish deadlines, and will also indicate those items having special priority. Since hearings, meetings, etc., are often scheduled on short notice, any information indicating a need for more expeditious handling of a legislative proposal should be brought to the attention of the General Counsel's Office immediately.

Action Officer Procedure

In any case where it is determined by the General Counsel's Office that a particular office has a major interest in a proposal, the head of that office will normally be designated to prepare the reply. (Action Officer) In certain cases, for example where the legislation appears to have department-wide interest, the General Counsel's Office will retain this function. The designation of the Officer to prepare the report and the date by which the report is to be submitted to the General Counsel will be included in the memorandum of request for views sent to all concerned.

If the date fixed by the Office of the General Counsel for submission of a report appears to be unrealistic because of changed conditions or the volume of legislative requests, the Office of the General Counsel wherever possible will revise such date to take account of these circumstances. Requests for changes in deadline should be directed to the Legislative Division (Rm 5876 ext. 4264) and must include the reasons therefore.

The memorandum of request from the General Counsel's Office will also establish a date by which other interested Officers are to submit their comments to the Action Officer. Each Officer who receives the memorandum of request will submit his views in duplicate to the Action Officer on or prior to that date.

The Action Officer will prepare in final form a suggested report of the Department and submit it to the General Counsel by the date set in the General Counsel's memorandum. If the request was received from outside the Executive Branch a covering letter to the Bureau of the Budget requesting clearance of the report also will be submitted.

The Action Officer must attach to the legislative file copy (initial copy) of the report, copies of all memoranda received from commenting Officers.

It is essential that the established deadlines be met since sufficient time must be given for review by the Secretarial staff officers and for final decision by the Secretary.

Clearance

Where the request for views has been received from outside the Executive Branch, the proposed report must be submitted, as indicated above, to the Bureau of the Budget in order that is relationship to the Program of the President may be ascertained, and for coordination with the views of other interested Executive agencies.

When clearance is received the Action Officer will be so advised by the General Counsel's Office. The Action Officer then will prepare the final reply of the Department. A statement of the Bureau of the Budget clearance must be included as the last paragraph of this reply.

Content of reports and forms to be followed

Insofar as practical and appropriate, the report should indicate the purpose and effect of the proposal; the interest of the Department therein; whether we favor or oppose; and the relevant facts and reasons pertinent to our position.

In addition, in those cases in which we favor enactment of legislation which would increase or decrease Departmental expenditures, our report must include estimates for each of the first five years of cost or savings attributable to the proposal; and if the proposal would involve annual expenditures of more than $1,000,000 the estimated maximum additional man years of civilian employment by general category of positions; maximum additional expenditures for personal services; and maximum additional expenditures for all services other than personal services which will be occasioned within the Department.

Reports and letters on legislation addressed to the Bureau of the Budget are to be prepared for the signature of the General Counsel. However the proposed report submitted as an enclosure with a letter requesting clearance is to be on Secretary's letterhead. All other reports and letters on legislation are to be written for the signature of the Secretary unless the General Counsel's Office otherwise advises. The format, number of copies required, etc., as indicated in Exhibits 1 and 2 attached, must be followed in all cases, unless other instructions are given by the Office of the General Counsel in particular cases.

Enrolled Enactments

After legislation has been passed by both Houses of the Congress, it is presented to the President as an enrolled enactment. The President then must decide upon his action with respect to the proposal within 10 days of its presentation.

To assist the President in deciding upon his action, the interested Departments are called upon for advice which must be furnished to the Bureau of the Budget within 48 hours. Requests for such advice are sent by the Bureau of the Budget to the General Counsel's Office which will solicit the views of interested bureaus. The bureaus must have their replies, including estimates of costs which would be incurred if the enrolled enactment became law, in the General Counsel's Office within 24 hours in order that the President's deadline may be met.

If it appears that the bureau may wish to recommend a veto, the General Counsel's Office should be so advised immediately. A memorandum setting forth the bureau's reasons for requesting a veto must follow within the 24-hour time limit.

To minimize delay all memoranda in reply to requests for views on enrolled enactments shall be hand-carried to Room 5876, Main Commerce Building, except that where veto by the President is not desired, those bureaus located outside Main Commerce Building may report by telephone (Code 112, ext. 4264) within the 24-hour period, and confirm such telephone report by memorandum sent through the mail service.

INITIATION OF LEGISLATION

When a bureau decides or is required to initiate a legislative proposal, it will prepare the initial draft bill together with a succinct statement of the supporting reasons. Upon request the General Counsel's Office will furnish such assistance at this stage as may be desired. This material should be forwarded to the General Counsel's Office for review within the Department and by the Bureau of the Budget. After advice of the Bureau of the Budget is received, the General Counsel's Office will arrange for submission to the Congress of the legislation.

RESTRICTIONS ON RELEASE OF INFORMATION RELATING TO LEGISLATION

It is imperative that no legislative proposal originating in this Department be transmitted to or discussed with persons outside the Department until it has been formally introduced in the Congress unless specific authorization to the contrary is given by the General Counsel.

When committees of the Congress are meeting in executive or closed session, the proceedings are to be regarded as confidential until the information developed therein is released by the committee. Members of the Department attending such sessions should, therefore, not disclose or discuss with any person (other than within the Department as they may be required to do so in the conduct of official business) any of the business of the committee, except upon express authorization of the General Counsel.

Prior to their publication in a form available to the general public, legislative reports, written statements of testimony, and declarations as to the position of the Department or its constituent units with respect to any legislative matter, are not to be discussed outside the Department, except to the extent that consultation with other agencies of the Executive Branch may be desirable to insure that our report will reflect all aspects of the questions involved. After such material has been submitted to the party requesting the information, it shall not be disclosed or discussed outside the Department prior to publication, except upon authorization of the General Counsel.

TESTIMONY

Any request that personnel of the Department appear to testify before or provide assistance to the Congress on matters other than annual, supplemental or deficiency appropriations, should be transmitted immediately to the General Counsel's Office, by telephone.

Upon receipt of such information, the General Counsel's Office will notify all concerned of the request, and will suggest a procedure for handling the matter.

The person chosen as representative, or some other member or members of the appropriate staff, will be designated to prepare an initial draft of testimony, using as guides the Department report on the proposal, Administrative statements, and other material indicating the policy adopted by the Executive Branch and the Department, and including such supplemental material as appears to be desirable.

The General Counsel's Office, and the legal officer of the bureau concerned will furnish assistance in the preparation of this material.

The draft testimony will then be submitted to the General Counsel's Office, where arrangements will be made for staff and such Executive Branch review as may be helpful and appropriate.

Since the Committee rules require that copies of statements be made available to them prior to the hearing, every effort should be made to have the proposed statement in the hands of the General Counsel's Office as soon as possible, to allow for necessary review and reproduction of copies.

The Department Office of Public Information supervises all public information aspects of legislative matters including service to the press.

The General Counsel's Office will arrange for the review and correction of transcripts. The corrected transcripts will be returned to the General Counsel's Office which will arrange for its return to the Committee.

INTERCHANGE OF INFORMATION

To the end that information in the General Counsel's Office can be kept pertinent and timely, personnel of bureaus and offices who become involved in Congressional relations shall inform the General Counsel's Office (Code 112, Ext. 3151) from day to day with respect to development or information which may come to their attention. This will facilitate the issuance to the Department officials accurate and up-to-date information each day.

General Counsel

For copies of Exhibits, please call (202) 482-7873.

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