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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:

Media Alert: Experts to Debate Inherent Contempt Enforcement Rule of House Subpoenas on Capitol Hill Friday

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 15th, 2018 Contact: Gabriella Hoffman,, 202-753-2626 Experts to Debate Proposed House Inherent Contempt Enforcement Procedure ...
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Hear GGN’s Bill Murphy on Stacy on the Right Show

Good Government Now's Bill Murphy appeared on The Stacy on the Right Show yesterday to discuss his recent column in ...
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Thanks to All Who Attended Our Capitol Hill Event on Friday, 9/21/18

On Friday, September 21, 2018, Good Government Now and the Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group hosted the panel discussion pondering the following: ...
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Inherent Contempt Fines Rule

The Problem: Rising Executive Branch Intransigence and Declining Congressional Oversight Effectiveness The refusal of executive branch officials to comply with ...
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Rule on Civil Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas

Good Government Now (GGN) is proposing an amendment to the rules of the U.S. House of Representatives to improve compliance ...
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Inherent Contempt Enforcement Rule Panel Discussion – Friday, 10/19/18

Can a Revised Inherent Contempt Procedure Strengthen Enforcement of House Subpoenas to the Executive Branch? Panel Discussion and Lunch with: ...
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