NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
DISCUSSION OF THE RULES
Having said that, I'd like to offer three choices this morning for our work considering the rules. You will find a 70-page analysis of the rules as submitted by Commissioners Lanni, Bible, and Dobson. I would note again that these are rules that you have had in your possession for some time. Hopefully you have done your due diligence in reading them, in studying them, and have come prepared this morning to discuss them.
We can do one of several things. We can either discuss this rule by rule, or we can discard any that we have determined or we have an opinion which states that they are illegal or redundant, or we can refer the entire package to GSA for additional analysis and to continue to operate under the rules as adopted.
The votes for each of these rules, incidentally, will be by roll call vote, and the reason for that is that under FACA when Commissioners act illegally, they may be held liable.
At the conclusion of our discussion, we would like to discuss some perhaps more simplified, common sense rules of conduct crafted for our consideration.
What is the Commission's pleasure?
MR. LOESCHER: Madame Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Yes.
MR. LOESCHER: Thank you, Madame Chairman.
I appreciate your opening remarks. I disagree totally with your statement. There's a lot at stake here in this Commission. We are going to affect people's jobs. We're going to affect their lives. We're going to comment on the moral values of people. We're going to affect their investments, and we're going to affect their life style, and there's a lot at stake.
And the rules are important as we begin this process that will last over two years and cover the range of issues that Congress has asked us to look at.
I took a look at the statute just like you did, and I find that all powers of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission are vested in the Commission, except that the Chairman is exclusively authorized to call meetings, and that's in accordance with Section 5(a) and 5(b). The Chairman is exclusively authorized to appoint and terminate all personnel other than the Executive Director, Section 6(c)(1), and the Chairman is exclusively authorized to procure temporary and intermittent services, Section 6(d), and also the Chairman, with the consent of the Commission, is authorized to appoint and terminate the Executive Director, Section 6(c)(1).
And from my reading of the statute, those are the powers of the Chairman. All other powers reside in this Commission.
The statute also says that this Commission may establish such other rules and procedure as it may deem fit, and of course, you caveat that to say it has to be lawful, and I agree with you, and certainly our efforts should be in that context.
I have a hard time here this morning coming to the meeting and finding this extensive legal analysis prepared by yourself and the GSA. I'm not a lawyer. I may be a professional client, but I'm not a lawyer, and I'm at a disadvantage here as we move forward, but I'm prepared to move forward however you want to move forward or this body wishes to move forward.
I came here having the benefit of the work of Commissioners Bible, Lanni, and Mr. Dobson, and I appreciate their work. They did extensive analysis, and I think they're all positive elements for us to consider, and it was my hope that we could start with a template document by merging the Bible and Lanni proposals, and then agreeing on that as a format, and then having the Commissioners debate and either amend by adding amendments to the procedural rules, or moving to delete certain procedures, and I think that would be a logical course of action for us to start an orderly piece of work.
And so I offer that to the Chairman and to the Commissioners to see if we couldn't proceed in that manner. However, Madame Chairman, I think the rules of procedure are important. Like you say, they cover the whole breadth of our activities. They protect people with our subpoena power. They protect them in the hearings. There's comments or there are provisions in here to deal with contracting and subcontracting and how we do that, all kinds of provisions which set the ground rules for the Chairman and the Executive Director and others who are doing our work as we proceed.
As you know, according to the proposed work plan, we're only looking at maybe five or six more meetings of this Commission over a two-year period. At least that's what's proposed. So we're going to be relying on a lot of people to do the work of the Commission.
And I think the work that we do at the outset right now is important as we look at what result that we want at the end, and I think having the ground rules established are important in the conduct of the work and making sure that we have a successful result at the end.
Anyway, Madame Chairman, I offer the notion just for discussion at this moment without a motion that we merge the Bible and Lanni proposals and use that as a template of discussion.
MR. BIBLE: I'm concerned on a procedural basis. Apparently the GSA counsel is not here today, and you suggested that some of these proposed rules are illegal, and I think it would be helpful if they were here to give us legal advice.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: It would be very helpful, and I am told that they are, in fact, en route, whatever that means. In Washington it could mean any number of things, from being stuck at a traffic light to (pause) --
MR. BIBLE: And as you know, we did not receive this rather lengthy document -- it's some 74 pages of analysis -- until five minutes ago.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: For the benefit of the public, let me explain what this 72-page document is that we are referring to.
MR. BIBLE: Seventy-four.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Seventy-four page document.
It is slightly different from what Commissioner Loescher recommended. He recommended combining Bible and Lanni's rules, and basically what I have done is combined Bible, Lanni, and Dobson's rules, and to offer as a point of departure for discussion, rather than take any one set of rules, we went through each set of rules. If a rule addressed a specific issue, as an example, the first one is agenda contents, we saw if Mr. Bible had a rule that related to that issue, if Mr. Lanni had a rule that related to that issue, or Mr. Dobson had a rule that related to that issue.
We then put on the paper in front of us the wording from their documents with their proposed rule.
Then Ms. Simpson, who is an attorney working on staff here, looked to see if there was any applicable law or regulation that had any bearing on that particular proposed rule.
Then if we perceived a violation or problem with that particular rule, it's listed there.
Then we consulted with various government agencies and entities for their input because it was very important to us to do this the correct way.
We then went to General Services and sat down with their staff attorneys and asked them for a ruling as to whether or not they concurred or did not, or whether they agreed or disagreed with the finding that our staff came up with.
Then what you see is the chair's recommendation for how we should handle that particular rule. So you do have a melding in front of you of all of the various Commissioners' rules that have been suggested.
It is not a new document in any sense of the word, except that what you now have before you is my recommendation for what we ought to do with that particular rule and GSA's ruling.
Again, every Commissioner has had all of these rules, and I would have hoped that you would have studied Dr. Dobson's rules, studied Terry Lanni's rules, studied Bill Bible's rules, and come here today with an opinion.
Many of you have suggested that you're not attorneys and that you would like to have attorneys look at them. I would hope that you have done your due diligence and have had your attorneys look at them.
If you have not and would like to delay this process and go back, I agree with you, Commissioner Loescher, that this is significantly important and has implications for how this Commission will operate; that if you want to table this entire discussion, go back and have attorneys look at it, and we can act on these later, I'm completely open to the will of the Commission on this.
I think it is vitally important that we get it right.
MR. WILHELM: Well, I'm glad you said it's vitally important that we get it right because by your adding that comment, I found one thing that I could agree with in what you said.
I'm very disappointed in finding this document this morning. You said at the first meeting, Kay, and again yesterday that there'd be no surprises. Well, I may not have the right Webster definition of surprise, but to me to find a 74-page document unattributed to anybody that purports to find various kinds of violations, slash, problems, whatever that is, in many of these rules falls in the category of what I would call a surprise.
You have indicated that the Commissioners should have done due diligence with respect to these rules, and I believe that the Commissioners have done that.
You have also, in essence, threatened the Commissioners with the possibility that they might vote for something illegal, and we have in front of us a document whose authorship is not evidence on the document. You have indicated that it was drafted by Ms. Simpson, but you've also indicated that there's been input into it from a whole bunch of federal agencies beyond the GSA, and yet there's no indication on this document of what that input may have been. There's no indication on this document of whether -- of which federal agencies expressed what view on which rule.
And, moreover, there's no distinction in the narrative between a violation or a problem. I can't tell from some of these things whether there's a purported violation of some law, which you correctly cautioned us that we shouldn't vote for if it's illegal, or whether this is a problem that you perceive that is non-legal in nature. There's no distinction in that regard.
I would have to interpret this as an effort to not only violate your own promise that there wouldn't be surprises, but more importantly, in the absence of any other evidence, and perhaps there is other evidence that I don't know about, but in the absence of any other evidence, I would interpret it as an effort not to have rules other than the interim rules that were adopted yesterday because there's no reasonable way that I could see that the Commissioners could digest a 74-page document in the allotted agenda time of one hour and 50 minutes and discuss each of these among ourselves and vote on each of these by roll call. That is an obvious and evident impossibility.
So I'm very disappointed in this development this morning. I am surprised by it. I think it's entirely inappropriate, and I think that it emphasizes the need that Bob Loescher tried to address at our first meeting for a general counsel.
I read yesterday and was surprised by not the content, but the materialization yesterday of the communication from the Department of Justice with respect to the notion of getting legal advice, and I would respectfully suggest that the wrong question was asked of the Department of Justice.
And I would request that you, as the chair, ask the Department of Justice if the department will detail to this Commission a Department of Justice attorney who can act in the capacity of general counsel.
I am very uncomfortable at being presented with a 74-page legal analysis by an attorney I know nothing about, who is not the general counsel of the Commission, and then being threatened by the chair with regard to the possibility of voting on something illegal. I think that's entirely inappropriate, and I would like to ask you to ask the Department of Justice to detail a lawyer full time to this Commission for the purpose of functioning as general counsel.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: If you will check your briefing books, you will note that I did ask every department, including the Department of Justice, for detailees to this particular Commission and are awaiting response from that.
MR. WILHELM: I'm asking you as chair to make a much more specific request. You made a generic request to detail somebody. I'm asking you to make a request to the Department of Justice to detail a full- time attorney for the purpose of serving as general counsel before this Commission.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Well, the chair respectfully declines that request. I will retain outside legal counsel for this Commission, which I have under the law the authority to do.
And let me state for the record one other thing. It is not any attempt to threaten the Commission with potential legal action; only to make sure that you understand fully the responsibilities that we have before us, and I think it would be irresponsible on my part not to do that.
And, again, let me restate that it was my hope that you would come prepared this morning having studied and prepared, and what you have in front of you was a document that is designed to help facilitate that discussion.
I am prepared to discuss it. It was an attempt to organize the material in some kind of way. What do you do when you have a list of rules from three different Commissioners, each addressing somewhat the same issues? But to try to put those rules side by side to see how they relate to one another, that is the full context of what you have in front of you.
Believe me, I have no pride of ownership or authorship in the document. If it is not the pleasure of the Commission to proceed in that direction, I am happy to consider some other alternative ways of addressing this. It is merely a procedural way to organize our work this morning.
The chair recognizes Commissioner Wilhelm.
MR. WILHELM: Thank you.
I am perfectly prepared to discuss these. I would ask the chair to advise us in advance, since there's no possibility of being finished with this analysis and discussion and roll call vote by 11:00 a.m.; I would ask the chair to advise us in advance whether the discussion will be cut off at 11:00 a.m. or whether the work plan discussion will be dumped or whether the public comment portion will be dumped.
I think the likelihood of getting through the procedure you described by 3:30 today, even if all of those other items are dumped, would be ambitious.
Secondly, I want to reiterate not by an unwillingness to talk about this and, indeed, vote on it, notwithstanding the threat about illegal votes, but I want to observe that to be presented on the morning of the discussion with a 74-page legal analysis that in my view is rather shoddy falls directly into the category that you said you would not do as the chair.
I'm perfectly prepared to discuss this. I have done due diligence on this. I have no difficulty in discussing any of it, but I think that the procedure that you have developed here this morning is not only inappropriate, but there's no prayer of it working between now and 11:00 a.m.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: First of all, I would like to address the issue of, quote, shoddy work by General Services Administration and the staff at the Gambling Commission. I'd like to say for the record that I believe that, first of all, they do this for a living. These are federal employees which spend their lives advising commissions. This is what they do.
They have taken the time to do their due diligence. They have gone through every regulation, every rule, every law that could apply. This is what these people do.
MR. WILHELM: Kay, my comment --
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Excuse me. The chair has the floor.
What they have done for this Commission is nothing more than what they do for every other commission in terms of advising them, giving them their best wisdom and counsel about the rules that they'd like to set up.
I really take issue with the comment of the shoddy work that either they or the Commission staff have done.
MR. WILHELM: Kay, my comment was not --
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Mr. Wilhelm.
MR. WILHELM: My comment was not addressed to the GSA. The GSA, if I understand the structure of this document -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- the GSA, if I understand the structure of this document, is responsible for the line on each page where it says "GSA's comment." It is my interpretation, perhaps wrongly of this document, that that is the GSA's portion, and so my comments were not addressed to the GSA.
My comments were addressed the structure of a document that has a category called "violation/problem." I need to know whether somebody thinks one of these rules is illegal. If somebody, separately from whether somebody thinks it's illegal, thinks it's a problem, that's a perfectly legitimate point, but the idea that one lumps together violations and problems with any reference to any legal authority is, in my view, a shoddy piece of work for a legal document.
If it's somebody's opinion, that's fine. My comment is not addressed to the GSA's section of this, which is GSA's comments, if I'm interpreting the document correctly.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: I would like to introduce to those of you who have not met you before Carol Simpson, who is the staff attorney who has been working on this document.
MR. BIBLE: Now, when you are introduced as staff attorney, are you the Commission's attorney?
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: She is a Commission employee who has been working on the Commission staff to prepare us for our discussion today.
MR. BIBLE: How many staff people do we have at this time?
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Mark, how many is it now?
MR. BOGDAN: Three.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: We now have three.
MR. BIBLE: So we do have Commission counsel? So you are Commission counsel?
MS. SIMPSON: I don't know that I've been employed as Commission counsel. I'm on staff, and I went through this.
If I could answer very quickly --
MR. BIBLE: But you are an attorney?
MS. SIMPSON: I am an attorney. Yes, I am.
The work here that's been added, I think, Mr. Wilhelm, you're absolutely incorrect. The first part of this stuff is stuff written by three Commissioners. It wasn't written by anybody else. It's just translated, just typed in there, which took a lot of time. There's no analysis there.
The second part is applicable law that we just copied and put in there. So it was not something that anybody made up.
If you'll look very simply the reason there's a violation/problem line is on the first page. There's no applicable law. So there obviously could be no violation of an applicable law, but in discussing things with the various entities around the city, they said these were some things that you may want to think about.
So we just put those in there. It is not my analysis that I came up with on my own without talking to anyone. It was after talking to people.
The chair then asked me to write that up so it would be in some form to look at. GSA then could then give an opinion on that.
So it's very simple to tell when there's a violation of law. The words "contrary to law" are written there when there's a violation of the law. It also is an obvious thing that if it says applicable law and there is none, there can't be a violation. That's why the two words were used: sometimes there is something that's contrary to law; sometimes there's just a problem.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: The chair recognizes Dr. Dobson.
DR. DOBSON: Madame Chair, given the discussion around the table, I'd like to make a motion that we table this discussion pending reference to or referring this issue to the GSA or the general counsel of the Commission with a request that a report and recommendations be made back to us no later than two weeks prior to the next meeting.
MR. BIBLE: And I would support the motion, but instead of having recommendations, what I'd like to see is a comprehensive legal analysis as to whether or not any of these rules violate any applicable provisions of federal code.
DR. DOBSON: I would accept that in my motion.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: It has been moved and seconded. Would we like to have discussion?
MR. LOESCHER: Madame Chairman, I ask for a five-minute recess.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: If we could get through this, that would be great. If you feel a need for a recess, can I hear the sense of the rest of the Commission? Would that be helpful to you?
The meeting stands in recess for five minutes.
(Whereupon, the foregoing matter went off
the record at 9:37 a.m. and went back on
the record at 9:47 a.m.)
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Call back to order.
I think we have a motion before the Commission. I'd like to have a restatement of the motion, and I believe the motion was made by Dr. Dobson.
Dr. Dobson, I wondered if you would entertain adding to your amendment that along with the analysis that GSA would make, that they would recommend, based on their experience of having worked with numerous other commissions, as a part of their report back to us, that they would recommend some common sense rules under which we could operate.
DR. DOBSON: That's fine with me --
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: For review.
DR. DOBSON: -- if the second approves.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: And the second was, I believe, Bill Bible. Would you?
MR. BIBLE: And it intends to have them provide their analysis as to whether or not the rules will work?
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: That's correct.
MR. BIBLE: I think as long as they do that and they give concrete examples of where and why they're making that recommendation I would agree with that.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: And that we would then, therefore, table that until such time as we have that analysis back, and then we will look at the rules.
The chair recognizes Mr. Lanni.
MR. LANNI: Thank you, Madame Chair.
I have some other requests as part of this if it's acceptable to Commissioner Dobson and to Commissioner Bible.
One is whatever opinion is rendered by the GSA, I would recommend that the Committee Secretariat, James Dean, not a staff attorney, be signing that particular document so we have clear indication that the appropriate authority is in place.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: I'm not sure if we have the authority to dictate internal GSA -- I appreciate your --
MR. LANNI: This was a request. I realize we don't have control over that particular agency.
Would that be an appropriate request, Mr. Snowden?
MR. SNOWDEN: Let me say I think it's important now that I make this comment. GSA is being drawn into a discussion on how you should operate, how the Commission should operate. Generally that is not our role.
We are advisory to you. To all of the Commissioners, it's important to know we have no -- we represent no particular perspective here. Our role only is to provide you advice on the legal and regulatory operations of the Commission and to keep you in compliance with law and regulation.
What you're asking us to do is to help you craft out your operating rules. Your legislation gives you clear and invaluable authority to write any rules you see fit as long as it does not violate any organic legislation or any rules or regulations.
What we did is looked at these rules as they were presented, and those that we thought were clearly in violation of your law or existing regulations and other laws, we commented on such. Those that we did not, we, in fact, made no comment or said we did not disagree with the finding.
I want you to be clear. I think that you're bringing GSA -- I know that it appears to me that you're making GSA dictate how you run. I don't think you want to do that. I don't think you want to yield any of your flexibility and any of your ability to dictate how you operate.
To your specific question, Mr. Lanni, whether it would be appropriate for Jim Dean, who is the Committee Secretariat, to sign off on how you operate would not be in keeping with his role. Again, we are not in the position of telling commissions, "This is how you should operate."
Clearly, we will review this, give you an opinion. It is only advisory. You can take it as an attempt to show you best practices, but you don't have to comply.
MR. LANNI: Thank you, Mr. Snowden.
One other question, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Certainly.
MR. LANNI: Relative to that, the confusion that I have -- and, again, I must say I am also not an attorney. I think probably more people have announced in Washington today that they're not attorneys, considering the number of attorneys in Washington. However, I am not one -- and we've used three different words relative to the GSA in different manners.
First, in the 74-page document that was submitted to us, the reference to GSA is a comment from GSA.
In Madame Chair's remarks and response to Mr. Wilhelm, she referred to a GSA ruling.
And you're now saying a GSA opinion, and I suspect not even being an attorney there is a significant difference among those three statements. If, and my request here is if there is going to be a determination -- and I'll use that as a fourth word -- a determination from the GSA, I would like to have that determination presented in writing to the Commission members. I think that would be appropriate.
In addition, I would also ask that when it comes to Ms. Simpson's comments about contacts with a number of other agencies -- I tried to write some of them down. She speaks more quickly than my shorthand or lack of shorthand is capable of responding -- but I would think it's appropriate if we're going to have that as part of this, assuming this proposal is approved, that we would have written statements from those particular entities also, and again, I used the word advisedly, "statements." I'm not sure exactly what would be appropriate.
And I was going to ask for a clear understanding of the GSA's role in this, and I think you, Calvin, have responded to that appropriately.
And I would ask for one other aspects based upon the Chairman's comments that there may be some criminal liability potentially here. I would like to have some written opinion presented to each of the Commissioners to better understand that because, as much as I like the federal government, I have no interest in spending any time in a federal penitentiary.
Thank you, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Let me just say one thing before the chair recognizes another Commissioner.
I think that you're absolutely correct, Terry, in the use of language, whether it's advisory, whether it's a comment, or whether it's an opinion, and my understanding is that GSA can give us their advice, and that says something about who we are, and that question was raised yesterday.
So who is the ultimate authority? And I would say to our C Span watchers right now that if you want a lesson in government and how it works, this Commission is probably as good an example as anything because we are a hybrid.
I mean, we don't fall anywhere particularly under any particular authority, which makes it very, very difficult at this point to say if we don't like what the chair does, who do we appeal? That question came up yesterday. Who is the final authority and the final appeals process for this Commission?
And it's an interesting study. I think a lot of Washington attorneys and a lot of agencies have gone into a tailspin over that particular question. I promise you that when new legislation is drafted, I suspect they will be far more clear about those issues than they have been with this particular Commission.
So the question is when does GSA say that a suggested rule is in violation of the law. They have been clear in advising us to date about which rule they believe is in violation of a law. They've done that. That's already happened, and they're prepared only to talk about that.
Outside of that, they have no dog in this fight, outside of that kind of an opinion.
Now, I think we have a good motion on the floor at this point, and in the discussion I don't want to lose the motion that we have before us, and that is that we table these rules, send them back for -- and what I -- I don't want to reword Dr. Dobson's motion with the caveats and the friendly amendments from Terry Lanni -- and if there is not any further discussion on that motion -- is it germane to the motion, Bill?
MR. BIBLE: It is.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Okay. Then we want to entertain it.
MR. BIBLE: Mr. Snowden spoke after the motion, and I believe Dr. Dobson amended the motion to include having them review and recommend or make advisory recommendations. As I interpreted your comments, you are not particularly comfortable with that. You felt that that was something you did not -- a position you didn't want to be in, but you would not mind reviewing the proposed rules strictly from a legal basis to indicate whether they conform with federal statute, rule, and regulation.
And I think we ought to probably reconsider, Dr. Dobson, and just ask them for the legal analysis, and we can do the subjective stuff ourselves.
DR. DOBSON: In fact, that's what I intended. Obviously I don't think anybody's asking GSA to tell us how to run the Commission apart from what the law says, but speaking personally, I don't want to be counter to the law either, Terry, and I don't want to make any decision here that's going to get us into difficulty.
So somebody has to give us that opinion, and I assume that's GSA.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: And for the record, we have not heretofore asked GSA for that. In those particular areas, they said "no comment." That's for our discussion and our deliberation.
We only want from them their best advice on what is legal, what is not, and then it's up to this Commission. The only thing that we asked them for is based on their experience if they have some common sense rules that they have seen adopted by other commissions that they could send to us for our review, and I think that's an entirely appropriate request.
I do not want to lose the motion that's on the table right now. Dr. Dobson, if you would restate it.
MR. LANNI: Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Certainly.
MR. LANNI: I'm sorry. If we could add the word "in writing."
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: In writing.
MR. LANNI: Fine.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: In writing.
DR. DOBSON: I can restate my original motion. Terry, you'll have to give the friendly amendments to it because I didn't write those down.
But I move that we refer these rules, this discussion, to GSA and to the counsel for the Commission with a request that recommendations, in writing, and a report be returned to us no later than two weeks prior to the next Commission meeting.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: And that motion was then seconded by Bill Bible.
I'd like to call for a voice vote. All those in favor, please say aye.
MR. LOESCHER: Madame Chairman, I'd like a roll call vote, please.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Certainly. We can do a roll call vote. You understand the motion before you.
MR. BIBLE: aye.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Mr. Dobson.
DR. DOBSON: Aye.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Mr. Lanni.
MR. LANNI: aye.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Mr. Leone.
MR. LEONE: Aye.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Mr. Loescher.
MR. LOESCHER: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Mr. McCarthy.
MR. McCARTHY: Aye.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Mr. Moore.
DR. MOORE: No.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Mr. Wilhelm.
MR. WILHELM: Aye.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: The motion carries.
All right. We will now turn our attention to --
MR. LOESCHER: Madame Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: The chair recognizes Mr. Loescher.
MR. LOESCHER: Thank you.
Just for the sake of information, I had our lawyers merge the Bible and Lanni proposals, and I just provide it to the Commission members and your office for information.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: So that has been circulated. Again, for the Commissioners, I would take note that that is a merger of the Lanni/Bible, and it did not include Dr. James Dobson.
Okay. We're going to move now --
DR. MOORE: Madame Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Yes, Dr. Moore.
DR. MOORE: The reason I voted no -- it concerns me that we've delayed this for two weeks now, at minimum, by turning to GSA to do something. I don't know what they're going to do, but they will come back with some document, and half of us will agree with that document.
It's time, it looks like to me, for this Commission to start discussing how we want to operate and write down rules and regulations on how we want to operate and get five votes out of this nine on each of those rules if we want to, then turn that over to GSA, and let them tell us how many laws we've broken, you know, and things of that nature, and make suggestions of how we could correct those.
I'm one of those that is not an attorney. I'm not even a professional client of an attorney. I'm not even afraid of attorneys and have attorneys as friends.
DR. MOORE: I'm not afraid of being sued even though I'm a physician, and they have been known to be sued. I pay my malpractice insurance and let the chips fall where they may.
PARTICIPANT: So to speak.
DR. MOORE: So that's my concern.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Well, Dr. Moore, I certainly could not agree with you more that we have delayed the work of this Commission over these. I think though that we are not going to snatch victory right now, and the next item on the agenda is, indeed, the work plan, and it would be great to move to that part of our discussion, but I see my good friend, Mr. Wilhelm has a comment before we do.
MR. WILHELM: I have an information request. I would like to request that the Commissioners be provide with information pertaining to Commission staff and pertaining to Commission expenditures, since we don't have a budget yet, and in particular, with respect to staff who have already been hired either on a permanent or temporary basis, I would appreciate the following information, obviously not now, but you know, after the meeting at some point: name, job title, compensation, period of employment, if it's temporary or if it's otherwise limited in some fashion, job description, and resume, and I would appreciate the same information as staff are hired in the future, and I would appreciate the same information with respect to any detailed employees, except not compensation in that circumstance.
In addition, I would like to request that the Commissioners be provided on a monthly basis with a detailed accounting of the expenditures of the Commission.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: That is certainly a reasonable request.
DR. DOBSON: Madame Chair, before we leave this issue, I just want to say for the record and in defense of the chair, what would we have expected to have been done to help us facilitate this discussion today? You've got three separate documents. People complained about it being 74 pages long. Put the three together, and I guess it's 140 pages long.
Three separate documents laid out before us with a need to compare item for item, but they're listed with different numbers, and then on the spot ask counsel to give us an opinion about whether it's legal or illegal, and to do that in the course of this one meeting. That would have been absolutely impossible, and I commend the chair and the staff for attempting to synthesize this for us so we could get our arms around it because otherwise it would have been absolutely unwieldy.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Thank you.
The chair recognized when she took this job, Dr. Dobson, that you're going to get beat up when you do it right and get beat up when you do it wrong. We're just going to keep doing it.
At this point, I -- yes, the chair recognize Mr. McCarthy.
MR. McCARTHY: Madame Chair, during the discussion yesterday of the Subcommittee on Research Information and the letting of contracts to do research by the Commission, there was discussion about when competitive bidding would be required and under what circumstances it might not be required.
At what point do we intend to try to address that issue today?
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Well, it would have come up as we went through the various rules because there were some that addressed that particular issue. If you would like some clarification on that, we do have Mr. Snowden here now who could address that.
MR. McCARTHY: Well, I do have a series of questions to pose.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Would you like to do that before we get into our work plan discussion?
MR. McCARTHY: May I suggest this? I will submit a series of questions to Mr. Snowden and copy the members of the Commission so that they will be able to read the questions, and then at some point I would like to have some sort of discussion and not just an exchange of written communications, if I may.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Certainly.
MR. McCARTHY: Maybe we can do it by conference call. I'm not sure how we do it, but please think about that.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: I certainly will.
MR. BIBLE: Also, along those same lines, yesterday you had a discussion about the possibility of raising some grant funds, and maybe you could take a look at applicable federal law as to whether federal agencies, which I assume we are, can accept outside monies.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Certainly.
The chair recognizes Mr. Snowden.
MR. SNOWDEN: Thank you.
You do not today have the authority to use gifts. Every federal agency has the authority to receive gifts. In order to use gifts received -- now, this is very technical -- in order to use gifts given, there must be language in your enabling legislation that authorizes you to use gifts.
Absence of that authority, you cannot accept gifts. Well, you can accept gifts. You can't use them. That's --
MR. SNOWDEN: Let me explain to you the process. A federal employee --
MR. McCARTHY: Do you really want to get into this right now?
MR. BIBLE: Oh, we take the money and put it in the Treasury and don't spend it.
MR. SNOWDEN: And, in fact, you're right. What happens is if you accept the money, it goes into the general fund, and it goes to the good of the entire federal government because you do have gift use authority.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: So if Commissioner McCarthy wanted to take us all out to dinner and pay for it?
MR. SNOWDEN: Well, in fact, he can.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Good. That's all we need to know.
MR. SNOWDEN: And let me know where.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: That's fine.