The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), also known as the US Helsinki Commission, is an independent US government agency created by Congress in 1975 to monitor and encourage compliance with the Helsinki Final Act and other Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) commitments. It was initiated by House representative Millicent Fenwick and established in 1975 pursuant to Public Law No. 94-304 and is based at the Ford House Office Building.
The Commission consists of nine members from the US House of Representatives, nine members from the United States Senate, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defence, and Commerce. The positions of Chairman and Co-Chairman are shared by the House and Senate and rotate every two years, when a new Congress convenes. A professional staff assists the Commissioners in their work.
The Commission contributes to the formulation of US policy toward the OSCE and the participating states and takes part in its execution, including through Member and staff participation on official US delegations to OSCE meetings and in certain OSCE bodies. Members of the Commission have regular contact with parliamentarians, government officials, NGOs, and private individuals from other OSCE participating states.
The Commission convenes public hearings and briefings with expert witnesses on OSCE-related issues; issues public reports concerning implementation of OSCE commitments in participating States; publishes a periodic Digest with up-to-date information on OSCE developments and Commission activities; and organizes official delegations to participating States and OSCE meetings to address and assess democratic, economic, and human rights developments first-hand.
In February 2018, the CSCE convened in Washington, DC to address the issue of Russian doping in international sport. Central to the discussion was an exploration of the need to protect whistle-blowers. The meeting included testimony from Jim Walden, attorney for Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory.
Commissioners, as at October 2022, include:
- Senate members:
- Ben Cardin, Maryland, Chair.
- Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire.
- Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island.
- Dick Blumenthal, Connecticut.
- Tina Smith, Minnesota.
- Roger Wicker, Mississippi, Vice Ranking Member.
- John Boozman, Arkansas.
- Marco Rubio, Florida.
- Thom Tillis, North Carolina.
- House members:
- Alcee Hastings, Florida, Co-Chair (until 06 April 2021).
- Steve Cohen, Tennessee, Co-Chair (from 01 July 2021).
- Gwen Moore, Wisconsin.
- Emanuel Cleaver, Missouri.
- Marc Veasey, Texas.
- Ruben Gallego, Arizona.
- Joe Wilson, South Carolina, Ranking Member.
- Robert Aderholt, Alabama.
- Brian Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania.
- Richard Hudson, North Carolina.
- Executive branch:
- Vacant, Department of Commerce.
- Vacant, Department of Defence.
- Vacant, Department of State.
United States Code Reference
Title 22, Chapter 45
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe; establishment.
. Function and duties of Commission.
. Commission membership.
. Testimony of witnesses, production of evidence; issuance of subpoena; administration of oaths.
. Report relating to Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
. Commission report to Congress; periodic reports; expenditure of appropriations.
. Appropriations for Commission.
. Commission staff.
. Printing and binding costs.
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