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William S. Cohen Papers | Senate Legislative Materials on Governmental Affairs

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MS 106.3.3.11 Government 1979-1996

During his service in the U.S. Congress, Cohen perceived a high level of cynicism and disillusionment on the part of the American public towards the bureaucratic nature of the Federal government and the integrity of public officials. His career is marked by a number of efforts aimed at making Congress, and the Federal government in general, a stronger and more effective institution. This subseries consists of Cohen's records from his service in three areas: a) the Committee on Governmental Affairs, b) the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress, and c) other congressional reform efforts, including campaign finance reform.

MS 106.3.3.11.1 Committee on Governmental Affairs 1979-1996 51 boxes

William S. Cohen was a member of the Committee on Governmental Affairs from 1979-1997. During this time, he served on the Subcommittee on the Oversight of Government Management as either Chair or ranking member. While serving on the Oversight Subcommittee, he was responsible for many legislative initiatives geared towards reforming the government's procurement process and combating Federal fraud and dishonesty. Cohen introduced many of these initiatives with Senator Carl Levin from Michigan.

The bulk of the files in this subseries were created by Kim Corthell, who worked with Cohen on the Oversight Subcommittee from 1978-1996. Mary Gerwin, (counsel to the Oversight Subcommittee from 1981-1986 and minority staff director from 1987-1991), Jeffrey Minsky, Paulina Collins, and Margaret Weeks also contributed. The files are arranged into two general chronological categories and then alphabetized within each of these categories: a) 1979-1986 and b) 1987-1997. There is overlap on some of the dates in each category.

MS 106.3.3.11.1.1 Governmental Affairs 1979-1989 19 boxes

Arranged alphabetically. These files document a number of legislative initiatives introduced by Cohen which were aimed at reforming Federal purchasing practices. They are: · The Anti-Kickback Enforcement Act of 1986 (S. 2250). This act was designed to strengthen federal law prohibiting subcontractor kickbacks in government procurement. · The Civilian Agency Multiyear Contracting Act of 1984 (S. 2300). This authorized civilian procuring agencies to enter into multi-year contracts. · The Competition in Contracting Act. This act was introduced by Cohen in 1982 as S. 2127 and again in 1983 as S.338. It produced major reform in procurement practices by promoting an increase in competition in government contracting. · The Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act of 1986 (S. 1134). This act was introduced by Cohen to combat fraud in federal programs. · Cohen also supported the 1983 reauthorization of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, which fostered improvements in federal procurement practices.

Other files in this category deal with the constitutionality of the special prosecutor provisions of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 and the 1982 amendments to this act, introduced by Cohen as S. 2059. These amendments changed the name "special prosecutor" to "independent counsel" (to remove the Watergate connotation of an investigation), and outlined the responsibilities of the Attorney General in conducting investigations. Social security disability amendments, the reauthorization of the Office of Government Ethics, and the formulation of legislation dealing with computer security and computer matching are some of the other issues documented in these files.

Records include briefing material for hearings, GAO and CRS reports on procurement practices, responses to Cohen's requests for comments on his legislation from individuals in the Federal government and in the contracting industry; Cohen's statements and speeches; copies of bills; and various reports from the Oversight Committee on pending legislation.

Folder Titles

Airport transfer, Washington, D.C., S. 1017, 1986.
Anti-Kickback Enforcement Act, S. 2250, 1986.
Anti-Kickback Enforcement Act, briefing memos, 1986.
Anti-Kickback Enforcement Act, correspondence, 1986, 2 folders.
Anti-Kickback Enforcement Act, minority staff memo to Governmental Affairs members, 1986.
Anti-Kickback Enforcement Act, press releases, 1986.
Anti-Kickback Enforcement Act, subpoenas served, 1986.
Board of Contract Appeals Independence Enhancement Act, S. 2223, 1986.
Certificates of Competency, small business contracting, 1981.
Civil penalties for finanacial disclosure provision violations, hearing, 1986.
Civilian Agency Multiyear Contracting Bill, S. 2300, 1983-1984, 2 folders.
Competition in Contracting Act, S. 338, 1981-1983, 4 folders.
Competition in Contracting Act, S. 2127, 1981-1984, 3 folders.
Competition in Contracting Act, 1982-1983, 6 folders.
Competition in Contracting Act, 1983-1985.
Competition in Contracting Act, constitutionality, 4 folders.
Competition in Contracting Act, implementation, 1984.
Competition in Contracting Act, letters and articles, 1982-1983, 3 folders.
Competition in Contracting Act, press reports, 1983-1986.
Computer crime, 1983.
Computer crime bills and memos, 1984.
Computer crime, clippings, articles, 1983, 3 folders.
Computer crime, continuing resolution, 1985, 2 folders.
Computer crime, Health and Human Services, Inspector General Report, 1983.
Computer crime, hearing preparation, 2 folders.
Computer crime, statements and Dear Colleague letters, 1984-1987.
Computer crime, surveys, 1984.
Computer matching, 1974-1982.
Computer matching, 1982.
Computer matching, 1982-1989, 4 folders.
Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act, S. 2756, 1986, 3 folders.
Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act, S. 2756 hearing.
Computer matching correspondence, 1982-1985, 2 folders.
Computer matching inventory, 1982.
Computer security, 1983.
Congressional Reports Elimination Act, S. 992, 1985, 2 folders.
Consultants Reform Act, 1980-1981.
Contract Disputes Act, amendments, 1986.
Countervailing duty and its waiver, trade and fishery issues, 1979.
Debarment and suspension procedures, 1981.
Defense Acquisition Reorganization and Improvements Act, 1986, 4 folders.
Defense subcontractor kickbacks, 1985-1986, 6 folders.
Defense subcontractor kickbacks, correspondence, 1986.
Defense subcontractor kickbacks, memos, 1986.
Defense subcontractor kickbacks, news clippings, 1986.
Department of Education Organization Act, 1979.
Department of Labor's Enforcement of Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 1985.
Employee Retirement Income Security Act, background, 1985.
Employee Retirement Income Security Act, correspondence and witness letters, 1985-1986, 2 folders.
Employee Retirement Income Security Act, memos and reports, 1985-1986.
Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, 1981-1986.
Federal Procurement Reform, 1982-1984.
Foreign Assistance Reorganization, 1979, 2 folders.
Foreign Missions Act, 1982.
Former Presidents' Benefits, 1981-1987.
General Service Administration (GSA) contracts, 1981.
Government Affairs Committee hearing: Consolidated Banking Regulations Act, 1979.
Government Affairs, miscellaneous, 1979-1989.
Government competition, 1980.
Government contracting, legislation, 1983, 4 folders.
Government contracting, letters and articles, 1982-1983.
Government Management and Year-end Procurement Control Act, 1980, 2 folders.
Government Procurement Code, 1979, 4 folders.
Grace Commission, 1985.
Grace Commission, procurement, 1984-1985, 2 folders.
Grace Commission, procurement recommendations, briefing memos, 1985.
Grace Commission, procurement recommendations, correspondence, 1985.
Grace Commission, procurement recommendations, press release, 1985.
Hamilton Jordan Private Relief Bill, S. 1475, 1985.
Hughes Aircraft Company communications to employers, 1984-1985.
Hughes Aircraft Company communications to suppliers, 1984-1985.
Hurry-up spending practices, David Stockman nomination as director, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), 1981.
Independent Counsel (Special Prosecutor), cases, 1976-1986, 2 folders.
Independent Counsel (Special Prosecutor), cases, 1980-1985, 2 folders.
Independent Counsel (Special Prosecutor), cases, Carter/Reagan briefing book investigation, 1983-1984.
Independent Counsel, cases, legislative history, 1980-1986.
Independent Counsel, Constitutionality, 1978-1982.
Independent Counsel, Constitutionality, cases, 1976-1981, 2 folders.
Independent Counsel, correspondence, 1981-1982, 3 folders.
Independent Counsel, Donovan case, 1981-1984.
Independent Counsel (Special Prosecutor), Ethics in Government Act, Amendments, 1982.
Independent Counsel, Ethics in Government Act, hearings, 1979-1982.
Independent Counsel, Ethics in Government Act, hearings, 1980-1983, 4 folders.
Independent Counsel, Ethics in Government Act, hearings, background, 1981.
Independent Counsel, Ethics in Government Act, hearings, Cohen testimony, 1982.
Independent Counsel, Ethics in Government Act, hearings, Department of Congress, 1981.
Independent Counsel, Ethics in Government Act, hearings, information, 1979-1981, 2 folders.
Independent Counsel, Ethics in Government Act, hearings, information for the Record, 1981.
Independent Counsel, Ethics in Government Act, hearings, news clippings, 1981-1987.
Independent Counsel, Ethics in Government Act, news releases, 1981-1982.
Independent Counsel, Ethics in Government Act, reports and record, 1981.
Independent Counsel, Ethics in Government Act, thank-you letters.
Independent Counsel, Ethics in Government Act, witnesses, correspondence, 1981.
Inspectors General, legislation, 1981.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Taxpayer Assistance, briefing memo, 1982.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Taxpayer Assistance, info for the Record, 1982, 3 folders.
International Application of Antitrust, 1980.
Mark-up, agenda, 1986.
Mark-up, miscellaneous, 1979-1980, 2 folders.
Meese, reimbursement filing, 1985.
Miscellaneous memos, 1981-1989, 4 folders.
National Archives legislation, 1982-1986.
National Rifle Association (NRA), Firearms Owners Protection Act, 1985.
Nuclear exports to India, 1980, 4 folders.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 1980, 2 folders.
Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), 1983.
Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), administrator nomination, 1981.
Office of Federal Procurement Policy, administration proposal, 1985.
Office of Federal Procurement Policy, debarment hearings, 1981, 2 folders.
Office of Federal Procurement Policy, debarment final report, 1981.
Office of Federal Procurement Policy, reauthorization, 9 folders.
Office of Government Ethics, appearances, 1983-1986, 2 folders.
Office of Government Ethics, authorization extension, 1983.
Office of Government Ethics hearing, correspondence and witness letters, 1982-1983.
Office of Government Ethics hearing, memo, March 28, 1985.
Office of Government Ethics hearing, miscellaneous / back-up, 1983.
Office of Government Ethics, press release and for the Record, 1983.
Office of Government Ethics, reauthorization hearing, memo, 1983.
Office of Management and Budget, nomination of director, 1985.
Pay equity, 1984-1987.
Postal Service, Cohen memos, 1985-1986.
Postal Supervisors Arbitration Rights, 1979.
Procurement, miscellaneous, 1982-1985.
Program fraud, 1981.
Program fraud, 1982-1986, 7 folders.
Program fraud, American Bar Association, 1982-1985, 2 folders.
Program Fraud Civil Penalties Act, S. 1566, 1981-1985, 10 folders.
Program Fraud Civil Penalties Act, S. 1566, contractors' concerns, 1981-1982.
Program Fraud Civil Penalties Act, S. 1566, general background, 1985, 2 folders.
Program Fraud Civil Penalties Act, S. 1566, hearing, 1985.
Program Fraud Civil Penalties Act, S. 1566, press releases and clippings, 1985-1986.
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, S. 1134, 1985-1986.
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, S. 1134, analysis and copies.
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, S. 1134, beneficiary program issues, 1986.
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, S. 1134, briefing memo, 1985.
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, S. 1134, Cohen remarks, 1986.
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, S. 1134, constitutionality, 1986.
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, S. 1134, defense contractors' points, 1985.
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, S. 1134, draft report, 1985, 2 folders.
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, S. 1134, knowledge standard, 1985-1986, 2 folders.
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, S. 1134, materials for the record, 2 folders.
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, S. 1134, press releases, 1985.
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, S. 1134, as reported, 1985-1986.
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, S. 1134, staff briefing memo, 1985.
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, S. 1134, statements and rebuttals, 1986.
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, S. 1134, testimonial subpoena authority, 1984-1989, 2 folders.
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, S. 1134, witness letters, correspondence, 1985-1986.
Prompt Payment Act of 1982, 1983-1987.
Prompt Payment Act of 1982, implementation problems, 1985.
Prompt Payment Amendments, 1986-1987.
Revenue sharing, general info, 1975-1979, 2 folders.
Revenue sharing, government operations, 1976, 2 folders.
Revolving Door Post Employment Act, 1985-1986.
Revolving Door retirement policy, 1985.
Secret Service hearing, president protection, 1981.
Shippers' export declarations, confidentiality, 1979.
Social Security Administration, briefing and memos, 1982.
Social Security Administration, disability benefits hearing, correspondence.
Social Security Administration, disability benefits hearing, correspondence, thank you letters, 1982, 2 folders.
Social Security Administration, for the record, 1979, 3 folders.
Social Security Administration, hearing, press release, 1982.
Social Security Administration, reports, studies, releases, 1982-1983, 3 folders.
Social Security, Administrative Law Judges, correspondence, 1983-1985.
Social Security, Cohen/Levin Bill, 1982.
Social Security, disability, 1982-1983, 2 folders.
Social Security, disability, 1983-1984.
Social Security, disability legislation, 1982-1984, 2 folders.
Sole-source contracting, 1981-1982.
Soviet bloc technology, hearing, 1980.
Sunset Act, 1979-1980.
Synthetic Fuels Corporation, 1983, 2 folders.
Synthetic Fuels Corporation, memos, 1983.
Taxpayer assistance, 1981-1982.
Taxpayer assistance, 1982.
Trade, 1983-1984.
Trade, U.S.-Canadian.

MS 106.3.3.11.1.2 Governmental Affairs 1987-1997 32 boxes

Arranged alphabetically. Records in this category document efforts Cohen made to improve aviation safety, reauthorize the office of independent counsel, review the process by which Federal courthouses were constructed, and streamline Federal acquisition laws. The effect of political influence on the procurement process was also examined in an investigation of government contracts with the Wedtech Corporation.

In response to reports issued by the National Transportation Safety Board suggesting that poor FAA surveillance was a contributing factor in several airplane crashes, Cohen conducted a 1995 investigation of the Federal Aviation Administration's inspection system. As a result of this investigation, he called a hearing to investigate reports of inspection lapses. Reports, questionnaires, hearing material, and other kinds of data related to this investigation and other airline safety investigations are included in this category.

In 1993, Cohen conducted a review of government contracting practices pertaining to computer-related purchases. As part of this review, he sent questionnaires to a number of Federal agencies in order to survey how they purchased computers. In October, 1994 he published the results of this survey in a report entitled Computer Chaos. In 1995, Cohen introduced S. 946, the Information Technology Management Reform Act, which implemented the findings and recommendations as reported in Computer Chaos. This Act became effective in August 1996 and it reformed the way the Federal government buys computers. It was also Cohen's last legislative victory before his retirement from the Senate. Records related to the formulation of the Information Technology Management Reform Act include questionnaires and responses, a copy of Computer Chaos, bills, memos, and other kinds of background material.

Other legislative initiatives mentioned in this category are: · The Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1993 (S. 1587). This was designed to simplify the Federal procurement process. · The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1993 (S. 349). This act required that lobbying activities of "special interests" be disclosed to the public. · S. 928, which was a bill designed to improve the cost-effectiveness of Federal property management. It especially addressed the expensive process of building Federal courthouses.

The reauthorization of the Office of the Independent Counsel was a recurring issue. Files related to the 1987 Independent Counsel Reauthorization Act (S. 1293), and the 1993 Independent Counsel Reauthorization Act (S. 24), both introduced by Senators Cohen and Levin, are included here.

Access to records in this sub series is restricted until 2017. Consult the Special Collections Department for further information.

MS 106.3.3.11.2 Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress 1991-1993 7 boxes

In 1992, Congress passed the Boren-Domenici resolution (co-sponsored by Senator Cohen) which called for the creation of a Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress. Some of the factors that made 1992 a prime time for Congressional reform were the more than 100 change-oriented new members of Congress, public criticism of the institution following many scandals, and a viable third party candidate, Ross Perot, whose popular support challenged the institution.

The Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress was made up of six Republicans and six Democrats each from the Senate and the House as well as the Republican and Democratic leader of each chamber. Cohen was one of the six Senate Republicans named by Minority Leader Robert Dole to serve on the committee. The committee was charged with making a "full and complete" study of the operation and organization of Congress with a view toward strengthening its effectiveness, simplifying its operations, improving its relationships with and oversight of other branches of government, and improving the orderly consideration of legislation. Some of the issues the committee examined were the committee structure, staff and scheduling, ethics rules, and the budget process. The committee was in session from November 1992 until December 1993, at which time a final report was issued. The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1994 was introduced in February as a result of the committee's deliberations.

Records in this category were created by David Wilby, who worked with Senator Cohen from 1991-1997 on this committee and on a number of other issues, such as the environment, energy, congressional reform, election law, and Indian affairs. The files in this category consist largely of hearing materials, which are arranged chronologically. They include testimonies given by individuals on several aspects of Congressional reform, hearing summaries, briefing memos, and correspondence. Background materials, which include reports prepared for this committee on topics such as the jurisdictional evolution of House and Senate Committees, committee reorganization, and budget reform, are also included.

Access to some of the records in this sub series is restricted until 2014. Consult the Special Collections Department for further information.

MS 106.3.3.11.3 Congressional Reform 1979-1996 6 boxes

Records in this category deal with several aspects of congressional reform, especially campaign finance reform. Files fall into two general subdivisions, and are arranged alphabetically in each subdivision. The material in the first group (two boxes), dates from 1979-1988, and was created by Tom Heyerdahl, Bob Savitt, and Christian Zur. Subjects covered include campaign finance, ethics, franking, and the Keating Five, a term which refers to the involvement of five U.S. Senators in a scandal involving a savings and loan association. The material in the second group (the last four boxes), dates from 1989-1996, and it was created by David Wilby. Some of the subjects covered are campaign finance, ethics, salaries, perks, gifts, and term limits. Several files concerning U.S. Senator Robert Packwood, who resigned his seat in 1995 after the Select Committee on Ethics recommended his expulsion for sexual misconduct, are also in this group.

Records consist of correspondence, memos, news clippings, and newsletters from Common Cause, a citizen's lobbying organization promoting accountable government.

Access to some of the records in this sub series is restricted until 2016. Consult the Special Collections Department for further information.


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