H.R. 6029 Senate Amendments: Foreign and Economic Espionage Penalty Enhancement Act of 2012

H.R. 6029

Foreign and Economic Espionage Penalty Enhancement Act of 2012

Sponsor
Sen. Bernard Sanders

Date
December 30, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

On Sunday, December 30, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider Senate Amendment to H.R. 6029, the Foreign and Economic Espionage Penalty Enhancement Act of 2012, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval.  H.R. 6029 was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) on June 27, 2012, and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, which held a mark-up and reported the bill on July 10, 2012 by a voice vote. 

Bill Summary

H.R. 6029 would increase the maximum penalty for the theft of trade secrets by individuals or organizations who commit economic espionage to benefit a foreign entity. Under the bill, an individual convicted of foreign espionage would face a penalty of up to $5 million and would provide the maximum penalty for an organization convicted of foreign espionage shall be up to $10 million or three times the value of the stolen trade secret.

H.R. 6029 would require that the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) review the Federal sentencing guidelines and policy statements that apply to persons convicted of trade secret offenses to ensure they appropriately reflect the seriousness of the offenses, account for their actual and potential harm and provide adequate deterrence.

Background

According to the Committee on the Judiciary, by strengthening penalties and enhancing criminal deterrence, the bill would protect U.S. jobs and technologies while promoting investments and innovation.  When enacted, H.R. 6029 would likely advance the economic and national security interests of the United States.

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), based on information provided by the USSC, estimates that implementing H.R. 6029 would have no significant impact on the Federal budget.  Enacting H.R. 6029 could affect direct spending and revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply.  However, CBO estimates that the net effects would be insignificant for each year.

Because those prosecuted and convicted under H.R. 6029 could be subject to criminal fines, the Federal Government might collect additional fines if the legislation is enacted.  Criminal fines are recorded as revenues, deposited in the Crime Victims Fund, and later spent.  CBO expects that any additional revenues and direct spending would not be significant because of the small number of cases likely affected.