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Experts to Debate Proposed Rule to Strengthen Civil Enforcement of House Subpoenas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 17, 2018


Contact: Gabriella Hoffman,


Experts to Debate Proposed Rule to Strengthen Civil Enforcement of House Subpoenas in Panel Discussion on Capitol Hill


Washington, D.C. — 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. Members of the media and others interested in attending should RSVP here.  


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. Featured panelists include Michael L. Stern, former House Senior Counsel; Stanley M. Brand, former House General Counsel; Michael D. Bopp, former Staff Director and Chief Counsel, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and Elise J. Bean, former Staff Director and Chief Counsel, Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.


Stern’s proposal creates an option for committees to tighten current processes for administering information requests and subpoenas by: (1) requiring all executive branch objections in writing with detailed privilege logs by strict response deadlines, (2) establishing a multiphase adjudication process moving through negotiation, subpoena, and committee ruling stages; and (3) invoking multi-track enforcement of unresolved disputes including civil enforcement in federal court, points of order against appropriations for salaries of recalcitrant executive branch officials, and initiation of preliminary impeachment inquiries when appropriate.


“Urgent action is required to restore the ability of Congress to enforce its constitutionally legitimate demands for information from the executive branch,” said Dr. William J. Murphy, President of Good Government Now. “Mike Stern’s proposal is an important contribution to this effort. Consideration of his ideas by the distinguished panel of oversight experts at this event will advance the oversight reform dialogue considerably.”





Good Government Now is an advocacy group that promotes strengthened congressional oversight, investigative, and legislative institutional capacities to re-establish an appropriate constitutional balance between the legislative and executive branches as well as accountability of the executive branch to Congress and the American people. The Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group is a partnership of New America and the R Street Institute whose objectives are to create an enduring, bipartisan space to assess the capacity of Congress to perform its constitutional duties and to collaborate on ideas for improving the legislative branch’s performance in our separation of powers system.


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