Sweden: Parliament Decides Absent Members Must Repay Salary

Source: US Global Legal Monitor

On November 17, 2021, the Riksdag (Swedish parliament) decided that members who are absent during parliamentary votes may have to repay their salary to the Parliamentary Administration. The decision, expressed in an amendment to the Remuneration Act (Ersättningslagen (SFS 2016:1108)) also includes changes to rules concerning when a member of parliament may be removed from his or her committee seat and what periods of absence members may not count as time served for purposes of income benefits.

Currently, members of parliament are not required to attend votes in the chamber or otherwise participate in the parliamentary process. The rationale for allowing members of parliament to define their own work has been that members of parliament who do not fulfil their duties toward their constituency will not be reelected, and removing them or otherwise disciplining them would infringe on the principle that the voters elect their representatives.

According to the committee,

[t]he purpose of the new provision is to identify those few members who have high absenteeism without a valid reason over an extended period. According to the Riksdag Board, the fact that members over a long period of timechoose not to participate in the work of the parliament but nevertheless continue to receive compensation risks harming voters’ confidence in the Swedish Parliament and the democratic system. The new provision is based on the [members’] presence on voting occasions in order to capture reprehensible cases without creating a great deal of bureaucracy. According to the Riksdag Board, it is reasonable that the member of parliament is first made aware that he or she is at risk of being subject to a repayment duty before the Parliament’s remuneration committee makes such a decision.

The amendment to Chapter 3, Section 11 of the Remuneration Act specifically provides as follows:

A member of parliament who has been absent on no less than 60 percent of voting occasions [voteringstillfällena] in the chamber during a quarter must repay the emolument specified in 3 ch. 1–4 §§ that corresponds to that period, if

1.  The member has been absent during at least 60 percent of the voting occasions in the chamber also during a previous quarter of the election period, and

2.  The speaker has informed the member of his or her absence during the quarter mentioned in 1. and the duty to repay.

The provision would not apply in instances where the member is absent due to excused leave, such as parental leave, international travel, or other special reasons.

The Swedish parliament has previously operated with a reduced number of members voting in-person in the chamber, most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, when only 55 voting members, reflecting the overall representation of each party in the 349-member parliament, were present to vote in person. Absence during similar parliamentary situations would not trigger a repayment duty.

Currently, members of parliament are compensated 69,900 Swedish kronor (about US$7,700) per month, while certain assignments, such as positions as committee chairpersons, entitle the member to additional remuneration. (3 kap. 3 § Ersättningslagen (SFS 2016:1108).)

Members of parliament who must repay their remuneration for any period will also not be allowed to count that period as time served in the parliament for purposes of income guarantee payments, adjustment support when retiring from parliament, or survivor protection payments. (12 kap. 5, 8 §§, 13 kap. 7 § Ersättningslagen, as amended.)

In the same decision, the parliament also decided that members of parliament who leave their political party while retaining their seat in parliament must give up any position that they hold in a parliamentary committee. Currently, committee seats are awarded on the basis of the party’s parliamentary majorities, but parties cannot force former party members to give up a seat. Currently, one sitting member of parliament lacks a party affiliation after she left her political party during this parliamentary term (2018–2022). Members who leave their party but retain their seat are known as politiska vildar (literally, “political savages”). There have been 33 politiska vildar in recent Swedish history.  

The proposal was one of many decisions in a larger proposal that also included amendments to the Riksdag Act (Riksdagsordningen (SFS 2014:801)). The Riksdag Act holds a special status in Swedish law and is subject to special rules for amendment, requiring that amendments be adopted either with a qualified majority (consisting of at least three-quarters of voting members and half of all members) or through two simple majority decisions with one national parliamentary election between them before they can take effect. According to that proposal (Ändring i riksdagsstyrelsens förslag till lag om ändring i riksdagsordningen), the Riksdag Board would be free to forgo asking the Swedish Council on Legislation (Law Council) for comments when it determines the Law Council’s opinion is unnecessary. Under current rules the Riksdag Board may refuse to ask the Law Council for comment only when the “Law Council’s review would be irrelevant due to the nature of the issue or would delay the treatment of the legislative issue, thereby causing detrimental harm.” (8 kap. 21 § Regeringsformen (1974:152) (Swedish Constitution).)

Marc Demane Debih

Source: Securities and Exchange Commission

Litigation Release No. 25274 / November 30 2021

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Marc Demane Debih, No. 21-civ-10138 (S.D.N.Y. filed November 30, 2021)

On November 30, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed insider trading charges against Marc Demane Debih, a Swiss national, who generated at least $49 million in illicit profits in connection with his active participation in two multi-year insider trading schemes.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that Debih was a central figure in two separate schemes to trade in the securities of U.S. public companies in advance of news that these companies had been targeted for acquisition. Debih allegedly received illicit tips through a network that included two London-based investment bankers and a U.S.-based investment banker, all of whom the SEC charged in October 2019. The complaint alleges that Debih traded on the tips he received from the investment bankers and that he tipped others to trade. Debih is the eighth person the SEC has charged in connection with these schemes.

The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal court in Manhattan, charges Debih with violating the antifraud provisions of Sections 10(b) and 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5 and 14e-3 thereunder. Debih has consented to the entry of a judgment which, if approved by the court, would permanently enjoin him from violating the charged provisions and would impose civil penalties, if any, to be decided later by the court.

In a parallel action, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York brought criminal charges against Debih, who pleaded guilty to securities fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

The SEC’s investigation and litigation were conducted by Michael Foster of the Chicago Regional Office, Rua Kelly of the Boston Regional Office, John Rymas of the Market Abuse Unit, and Assunta Vivolo of the Philadelphia Regional Office, with assistance from Darren Boerner of the Market Abuse Unit, James D’Avino of the New York Regional Office, and Carlos Costa-Rodrigues, Marlee Miller, and Matthew Greiner of the Office of International Affairs. This case has been supervised by Joseph G. Sansone, Chief of the Market Abuse Unit. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Spanberger complains about BBB’s cost, voted for it anyway

Source: US National Republican Congressional Committee

The following text contains opinion that is not, or not necessarily, that of MIL-OSI –

During an interview Abigail Spanberger complained about the cost of Biden’s trillion dollar socialist spending spree, Build Back Better.

Just one problem: Spanberger voted for the boondoggle.

Is Spanberger already regretting her vote for trillions in new spending that will make the inflation crisis even worse?

H.R. 1908, Ka‘ena Point National Heritage Area Act

Source: US Congressional Budget Office

H.R. 1908 would direct the National Park Service (NPS) to assess the suitability and feasibility of designating Honolulu County on the island of O‘ahu as the Ka‘ena Point National Heritage Area. Under the bill, the NPS would conduct a study in consultation with Hawai’i and other local organizations and report their findings to the Congress.

Using information from the NPS, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 1908 would cost less than $500,000 over the 2022-2026 period; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.

H.R. 3095, Fair and Open Skies Act

Source: US Congressional Budget Office

H.R. 3095 would amend the criteria that the Department of Transportation (DOT) must consider when processing permit applications for foreign air carriers to provide foreign air transportation in the United States. Specifically, the bill would prohibit DOT from issuing new permits to foreign air carriers unless the carrier adheres to labor standards reflected in the guidelines to the United States-European Union Air Transport Agreement of April 2007 (as amended).

H.R. 3095 would increase DOT’s administrative costs related to processing and reviewing permit applications. The bill also could affect DOT’s collections of permit filing fees if the legislation caused certain foreign air carriers to not apply for permits. However, most filing fees, which are treated as discretionary offsetting collections, are waived under current law as part of international agreements with approximately 80 countries. Using information from DOT, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3095 would cost about $2 million over the 2022‑2026 period; any spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.

H.R. 3616, Bear River National Heritage Area Study Act

Source: US Congressional Budget Office

H.R. 3616 would direct the National Park Service (NPS) to assess the suitability and feasibility of designating areas in Utah and Idaho as the Bear River National Heritage Area. Under the act, the NPS would conduct a study in consultation with state, local, and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations and report their findings to the Congress.

Using information from the NPS, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3616 would cost less than $500,000 over the 2022-2026 period; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.

H.R. 4785, Uyghur Policy Act of 2021

Source: US Congressional Budget Office

H.R. 4785 would authorize the appropriation of $250,000 each year over the 2022-2024 period for the Department of State’s U.S. Speaker Program. Under that program the department would send experts to speak at international forums and to advocate for the human rights and freedoms of Uyghurs and other persecuted minorities in China. The bill also would authorize the department to appoint a special coordinator to manage federal policies and programs affecting Uyghurs. Finally, H.R. 4785 would require the department to offer Uyghur language training to Foreign Service officers and to assign Uyghur-speaking officers to U.S. diplomatic missions in China. Implementing the bill would cost $5 million over the 2022-2026 period, CBO estimates; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.

H.R. 5151, Col. James Floyd Turner IV U.S.M.C. GI Bill Transfer Act of 2021

Source: US Congressional Budget Office

H.R. 5151 would make changes to two education benefit programs that are managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Enacting the bill would increase direct spending by $3 million over the 2022-2031 period, CBO estimates.

Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, VA pays for tuition, housing, and other expenses for up to 36 months for beneficiaries pursuing approved education or training programs. Service members who complete at least six years of active duty and agree to perform another four years can typically transfer all or a portion of their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to their dependents. Those dependents must be designated to receive transferred benefits before service members are discharged from the armed forces. That designation is typically made by service members initially transferring at least one month of benefits to each dependent.

Statement by Secretary Granholm on Senate Confirmation of Corey Hinderstein

Source: US Department of Energy

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm issued the following statement today following the U.S. Senate confirmation of Corey Hinderstein by voice vote to serve as Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): 

“I thank the Senate for confirming Corey Hinderstein to serve as Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Everywhere she’s been—from NNSA to top think tanks and academic institutions—Corey has been widely recognized for her expertise and leadership on nuclear security. In her new role at NNSA, she will help keep our nation—and our world—safe from nuclear threats by strengthening international partnerships and advancing next-generation ideas and technologies. I am deeply grateful that Corey is willing to serve the American people once again by returning to NNSA.”

About Corey Hinderstein 

Corey Hinderstein is vice president of International Fuel Cycle Strategies at the Nuclear Threat Initiative based in Washington, D.C. where she focuses on international nuclear fuel cycle and nonproliferation policy, global nuclear security, and arms control and nonproliferation monitoring and verification. From February 2015 through November 2017, Hinderstein was senior coordinator for nuclear security and nonproliferation policy affairs at the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation office of the NNSA, DOE. At NNSA, she led DOE’s preparations for the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit and worked on other projects related to nuclear security and illicit trafficking, Iran’s nuclear program and international monitoring and verification. Prior to her service at DOE, Hinderstein had been with NTI since 2006 and earlier was deputy director of the Institute for Science and International Security.  

Hinderstein is a past president and Fellow of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management and serves on the board of directors for the World Institute for Nuclear Security. She also has served in advisory capacities for multiple national laboratories and has published widely on nuclear nonproliferation, verification and monitoring and nuclear security. Hinderstein graduated from Clark University in Worcester, MA where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Statement by Secretary Granholm on Senate Confirmation of Corey Hinderstein

Source: US Department of Energy

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm issued the following statement today following the U.S. Senate confirmation of Corey Hinderstein by voice vote to serve as Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): 

“I thank the Senate for confirming Corey Hinderstein to serve as Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Everywhere she’s been—from NNSA to top think tanks and academic institutions—Corey has been widely recognized for her expertise and leadership on nuclear security. In her new role at NNSA, she will help keep our nation—and our world—safe from nuclear threats by strengthening international partnerships and advancing next-generation ideas and technologies. I am deeply grateful that Corey is willing to serve the American people once again by returning to NNSA.”

About Corey Hinderstein 

Corey Hinderstein is vice president of International Fuel Cycle Strategies at the Nuclear Threat Initiative based in Washington, D.C. where she focuses on international nuclear fuel cycle and nonproliferation policy, global nuclear security, and arms control and nonproliferation monitoring and verification. From February 2015 through November 2017, Hinderstein was senior coordinator for nuclear security and nonproliferation policy affairs at the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation office of the NNSA, DOE. At NNSA, she led DOE’s preparations for the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit and worked on other projects related to nuclear security and illicit trafficking, Iran’s nuclear program and international monitoring and verification. Prior to her service at DOE, Hinderstein had been with NTI since 2006 and earlier was deputy director of the Institute for Science and International Security.  

Hinderstein is a past president and Fellow of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management and serves on the board of directors for the World Institute for Nuclear Security. She also has served in advisory capacities for multiple national laboratories and has published widely on nuclear nonproliferation, verification and monitoring and nuclear security. Hinderstein graduated from Clark University in Worcester, MA where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.