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Old 03-27-2009, 03:44 PM
kdeus is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 174
What Rep. Issa is talking about is the Federal Advisory Committee Act ("FACA") (5 USC Appx 2). FACA applies to any committee that is (1) convened or controlled by the executive, (2) makes a consensus recommendation to the Agency head or President AND (3) includes at least one person who is NOT a officer or employee of the U.S.

If all three conditions apply, then FACA applies and the committee meetings must be open to the public (and the public must be given notice that they are occurring), the committee must include representatives from all interested groups, and certain recordkeeping requirements must be met. Basically, its a much bigger pain in the neck to be a FACA committee than not.

In 1993, this came up when Mrs. Clinton championed health care reform efforts. Her commission consisted entirely of federal officers & employees, except for her. The U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia found that the First Lady is, for purposes of FACA, a federal officer or employee.

The point is, this area of law is getting a hard look by Congress for several good reasons (which can be referred to as "Cheney" and "Mrs. Clinton", to save time).

I do think Rep. Issa is taking the wrong course with the most popular first lady in 40 years (he's gonna get stomped like a grape in Napa), but the topic is one where reasonable (but geeky) lawyers are having meaningful discussion about what should be done.