A recent Bloomberg article reports that House Democratic leaders are considering Good Government Now’s (GGN) inherent contempt enforcement proposal which calls for the imposition of heavy personal fines on executive branch officials who defy congressional subpoenas.
The topic addressed in the Bloomberg story—Congress’ ability to uphold its own legislative powers without the need for a time-consuming and cost-prohibitive court battle when individuals fail to comply with a congressional subpoena—is at the core of Good Government Now’s mission.
The article quotes Good Government Now Senior Fellow and congressional oversight expert Morton Rosenberg who authored GGN’s proposed “Inherent Contempt Procedure Rule”:
“It’s political suicide to allow this to continue,” said Morton Rosenberg, who worked for the Congressional Research Service for more than three decades with a focus on investigative oversight. Rosenberg said courts have upheld Congress’ ability to enforce its own legislative powers going back hundreds of years.
Rosenberg himself drafted a proposed rule that would allow the House to fine someone $25,000 per day for not complying with a subpoena. If the official still didn’t comply, he or she could face criminal prosecution. Rosenberg said he’s had discussions with some Democrats in the House about his proposal but declined to say with whom.
Adoption of the GGN proposals to reinvigorate the congressional inherent and criminal contempt enforcement powers discussed in the Bloomberg report would greatly contribute to restoration of an appropriate constitutional balance between the legislative and executive branches.
“We are very gratified to see news reports confirming that the House leadership is seriously discussing Good Government Now’s proposals to establish an inherent contempt enforcement procedure whereby the House could conduct trials of, convict, and impose heavy personal fines on executive branch officials who defy congressional subpoenas,” noted Good Government Now President Bill Murphy. “Mort Rosenberg and I have worked hard on this proposal and to raise awareness of it for a year-and-a-half now since December 2017 when I asked him to write it,” Murphy continued.
Read the full Bloomberg article.