Good Government Now (GGN) is recommending that the U.S. House of Representatives address the crisis in the declining effectiveness of congressional oversight of the executive branch by adopting our proposed “Inherent Contempt Enforcement Rule” which would strengthen congressional subpoena and contempt enforcement by creating a process whereby the House would conduct trials of, convict, and directly sanction executive branch officials who obstruct the legislative information gathering process.
Good Government Now is proposing an amendment to the rules of the U.S. House of Representatives to improve compliance with congressional information requests and enforcement of subpoenas of executive branch officials in oversight disputes appropriate for civil enforcement. The rule distinguishes cases involving claims of executive privilege from those that do not and channels only the latter, which are better suited for adjudication in favor of Congress, to civil enforcement in federal court.
The executive branch has challenged congressional oversight, investigative, and subpoena enforcement authority ever more boldly over the past few decades. A distinguished panel of congressional oversight experts will consider whether an amendment to House rules establishing a revised inherent contempt enforcement procedure proposed by Good Government Now Senior Fellow Morton Rosenberg can reinvigorate congressional subpoena enforcement power in a luncheon panel discussion Friday, October 19, 2018 from 12-1:30pm in Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2226, 45 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20515..
The Hill, September 5, 2018
The U.S. House should invoke a revised version of its historical inherent contempt enforcement power to address the refusal of Department of Justice (DOJ) officials to comply with congressional subpoenas seeking information such as occurred with the Clinton email and Russia investigations. Inherent contempt refers to the centuries-old practice of the U.S. Congress and other parliamentary bodies of defending their institutional authority and punishing contempts by holding trials to convict and sanction individuals who obstruct the legislative process.
Good Government Now and the Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group are hosting a panel discussion titled “Can the House Strengthen Civil Enforcement of Subpoenas to the Executive Branch through Rules Changes?” on Capitol Hill this Friday, September 21st, 2018, from 12-1:30pm in Rayburn 2226. A panel of congressional oversight experts will debate the merits of a proposal by Good Government Now Senior Fellow Michael L. Stern to strengthen enforcement of congressional subpoenas of executive branch officials through a change to House rules.
The executive branch has obstructed legislative information gathering with increasing frequency and effectiveness for the better part of the last two decades. A distinguished panel of congressional oversight experts will evaluate the merits of Good Government Now Senior Fellow Michael L. Stern’s proposed “Rule on Information Requests and Subpoenas” as a solution to this problem in a luncheon discussion on Friday, 9/21/18.