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S. 2644 - Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act

Introduced: 2018-04-11
Bill Status: Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 393.
 

Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act

This bill sets forth requirements and limitations with respect to the removal from office of a special counsel appointed by the Attorney General, or of another official appointed by the Attorney General who exercises a similar degree of independence from the Department of Justice (DOJ) chain of command.

Specifically, a special counsel or other appointed official:

  • may only be removed by the Attorney General or the most senior Senate-confirmed DOJ official, in certain circumstances;
  • may only be removed for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause;
  • must be provided written notice that specifies the reason for removal; and
  • may file an action to challenge the removal not later than 10 days after notice was provided.

Full Text


115th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 2644


    To ensure independent investigations and judicial review of the removal of a special counsel, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 11, 2018

    Mr. Graham (for himself, Mr. Coons, Mr. Tillis, and Mr. Booker) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

    To ensure independent investigations and judicial review of the removal of a special counsel, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act”.

SEC. 2. Limitation on removal of special counsel.

(a) In general.—A special counsel appointed by the Attorney General, or any other official appointed by the Attorney General who exercises a similar degree of independence from the normal Department of Justice chain of command, may be removed from office only by the personal action of an Attorney General who has been confirmed by the Senate, or, if the Attorney General is recused from the matter, the most senior Department of Justice official who has been confirmed by the Senate and is not recused from the matter.

(b) Removal for cause.—A special counsel or other appointed official described in subsection (a) may be removed only for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause, including violation of policies of the Department of Justice.

(c) Notice of removal.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Attorney General or other Department of Justice official described in subsection (a), as the case may be, shall provide written notice to the special counsel or other appointed official described in subsection (a) of the specific reason or reasons for the removal.

(2) EFFECTIVE DATE OF REMOVAL.—Except as provided in subsection (e), removal under this section shall become effective on the date that is 10 days after the date on which the written notice was provided under paragraph (1).

(d) Timing.—Not later than 10 days after the date on which written notice was provided under subsection (c)(1), the special counsel or other appointed official described in subsection (a), as the case may be, may file an action challenging the removal in accordance with subsection (e).

(e) Review.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—An individual that received written notice under subsection (c)(1) may file an action in accordance with paragraph (2) that the removal was in violation of this Act.

(2) REQUIREMENTS.—Any action filed under this subsection shall be heard and determined by a court of 3 judges not later than 14 days after the date on which the action is filed in accordance with the provisions of section 2284 of title 28, United States Code, and any appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court.

(3) RELIEF.—If a court determines that the removal of the individual who filed an action under this subsection violates this Act, the removal shall not take effect. The court may also provide other appropriate relief.

(4) STATUS DURING PROCEEDINGS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—At the request of the individual who filed an action under this subsection, the court shall determine whether the individual shall remain in office during the pendency of the action described in paragraph (2).

(B) PRESERVATION OF MATERIALS.—During the pendency of an action filed under this subsection, the staff, documents, and materials of the special counsel or other appointed official described in subsection (a) shall be preserved.

(C) LIMITATION.—During the pendency of an action filed under this subsection, a replacement for the special counsel or other appointed official described in subsection (a) who is challenging the removal shall not be designated.

(f) Effective date.—This Act shall apply to any special counsel or other appointed official described in subsection (a) appointed on or after January 1, 2017.

(g) Severability.—If any provision of this Act or the application of such provision to any person or circumstance is held to be invalid or unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act and the application of the provisions of this Act to any person or circumstance shall remain and shall not be affected thereby.


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