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The Problem: Congress has lost the authority to enforce subpoenas.

Inherent contempt enforcement has been the most effective of the three methods available to Congress for defending its institutional prerogatives against contumacious behavior and ensuring timely compliance with its information demands.  Congress employed it highly successfully and almost exclusively until 1935, even after enactment of the criminal contempt statute in 1857.  

Congress stopped employing inherent contempt after 1935 for three reasons: (a) the associated trials at the bar of either house consumed too much floor time, (b) the habeas corpus suits that invariably accompanied the arrests and detentions of alleged contemnors further delayed the process excessively, and (c) the arrest and incarceration of witnesses was perceived unseemly. Read more.

Our Mission

Good Government Now was founded to strengthen congressional subpoena enforcement to re-establish an appropriate constitutional balance between the legislative and executive branches.


Recent Posts:

Civil Enforcement of Subpoenas Emphasized in House Resolution Would Be a Mistake; Congress Should Instead Pursue Inherent Contempt Fines and Independent Prosecutions for Criminal Contempt

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, June 11, 2019 3:00pm Media Contact: Bill Murphy • wmurphy@goodgovernmentnow.org • (610) 529-6494 (m) Washington, D.C ...
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GGN Inherent Contempt Fines Proposal Gaining Traction in House Leadership Discussions: Rep. Schiff Third Committee Chair To Consider

Recent news reports from NBC News, Reuters, Axios, HuffPost, The Hill, and other media outlets confirm that the modified inherent ...
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Schiff Considering Fines for Contempt of Congress Featured in GGN’s Modified Inherent Contempt Proposal

According to an article from The Hill, Rep. Adam Schiff is considering fining executive branch officials who refuse to comply ...
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The Inspector General Shortage: GGN Senior Fellow Jason Foster in the Wall Street Journal

The Inspector General Shortage Appointing more of them would instill much-needed public confidence in institutions. By Jason FosterThe Wall Street ...
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Dr. Bill Murphy on The Steve Gruber Show – April 25, 2019

Good Government Now President, Dr. Bill Murphy, discussed GGN's proposal for Inherent Contempt Enforcement Rule on The Steve Gruber Show ...
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Bloomberg News: House Democrats Considering GGN’s Proposal to Fine Officials Who Defy Subpoenas

A recent Bloomberg article reports that House Democratic leaders are considering Good Government Now’s (GGN) inherent contempt enforcement proposal which ...
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