Monday, September 11, 2023

Review - HR 4512 Introduced - Digital Economy Cybersecurity

Back in July, Rep Pfluger (R,TX) introduced HR 4512, the Digital Economy Cybersecurity Advisory Act of 2023. The bill would formally authorize the DOC’s current Digital Economy Board of Advisors and expand the coverage of the Board to cover cybersecurity activities. It would amend the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Organization Act, by adding a new §106, Digital Economy and Cybersecurity Board of Advisors. No funding is authorized by this legislation.

Moving Forward

Pfluger is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration. This means that there should be sufficient influence to see this bill considered in Committee. I see nothing in this bill that would engender any organized opposition. I suspect that there will be some level of bipartisan support for this bill. I do not know if there would be sufficient support to see the bill considered under the House’s suspension of the rules process.


This is the first time that I have seen verbiage in a bill forming an advisory committee/board that specifically prohibits a registered lobbyist from serving on the committee/board. The bill uses the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 USC 1601 et seq.) to define the term ‘registered lobbyist’. While I understand the political urge to ‘drain the swamp’ and exclude lobbyists from a position that would see them participating in guiding DOC/NTIA policy development. Unfortunately, anyone that serves on the Board that receives compensation for their participation, is going to have to register as a lobbyist under §1603 because providing the recommendations outlined in §106(b) would be ‘lobbying activities’ defined in §1602(7).

The definition of lobbying contact does specifically have an exception {§1602(8)(b)(vi)} that covers participation in an advisory committee as long as the committee is subject to the provisions of 5 USC 10. There is nothing, however, in this bill that would require the Board to comply with those provisions. Language could be added to §106(c)(3) to correct this shortcoming:

“(3) CHAIR.—The Chair of the Board shall be the Associate Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration for Policy Analysis and Development. The Chair will ensure that the Board conducts its activities in accordance with 5 USC 10.”


For more details about the provisions of the bill, see my article at CFSN Detailed Analysis - - subscription required.

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