Statement by the President: Signing of H.R. 4931 - the Presidential Transition Act of 2000 (10/13/00)

                         Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                            October 13, 2000

                           STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Today I am pleased to sign into law H.R. 4931, the "Presidential Transition
Act of 2000."  This Act amends the Presidential Transi-tion Act of 1963, which
was enacted to promote the orderly transfer of power when general elec-tions
result in a change in the Presidency.  Before 1963, there was no formal
provision for such transfer of power, nor were there any Federal funds
avail-able to pay for the expenses of the transition.  The Presidential
Transition Act of 1963 authorized the use of Federal funds for transition
activities and charged the General Services Adminis-tration (GSA) with
providing, upon request, office space and a variety of services to the

     This Act will further improve the process by which the United States
changes Presidential Administrations.  It authorizes the GSA to develop and
deliver orientation activities for key prospective Presidential appointees.  To
ensure coordina-tion between the parties involved in this process, GSA should
consult with the Office of Personnel Management and the White House Office of
Presidential Personnel in the development of these programs.  In addition, this
Act authorizes the GSA to consult with Presidential candidates prior to the
general election, so that they can develop a plan for computer and
communications systems that will support the transition between the election and
the inauguration.

     This Act also requires the GSA, in consultation with the National Archives
and Records Administration, to develop a transition directory.  The directory
will draw upon the existing body of information that describes the organization
and inter-relationships of the executive branch, as well as the authorities and
functions of the various departments and agencies.  It will serve as a valuable
"one-stop shopping" guide to Presidential appointees as they begin to carry out
their various
responsibilities.  The Office of Personnel Management and the White House Office
of Presidential Personnel should also be consulted in the development of this

     In approving this measure, I note that section 3 of the Act instructs the
Office of Government Ethics to conduct a one-time study and submit to two
Congressional committees "a report on improvements to the financial disclosure
process for Presidential nominees," which "shall include recommendations and
legislative proposals."  There is good reason to believe that the financial
disclosure process can be improved through streamlining and elimination of
duplication without harming the positive intent of the Ethics in Government Act
of 1978.  The Recommendations Clause of the Constitution (U.S. Const. Art. II,
Sec. 3), however, protects the President's power to decline to offer any
recommendation to the Congress.  Accordingly, to avoid any infringement on the
President's constitutionally protected policy making preroga-tives, I will
construe section 3 of
this Act not to extend to the submission of proposals or recommendations that
the President finds it unnecessary or inexpedient for the Administration to

                              WILLIAM J. CLINTON

    October 12, 2000.

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