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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.


Top Posts:

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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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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Can Congress Enforce their Subpoenas?

Federalist Society Article I Project Executive Director Nate Kaczmarek interviews Good Government Now President Dr. William J. Murphy about GGN's ...
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Recent Posts:

Inherent Contempt Fines Rule

The Problem: Rising Executive Branch Intransigence and Declining Congressional Oversight Effectiveness The refusal of executive branch officials to comply with ...
Read More

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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Dr. Murphy in The Hill: Congress Should Invoke Revised Inherent Contempt Procedure in DOJ Subpoena Standoff

The Hill, September 5, 2018 - The U.S. House should invoke a revised version of its historical inherent contempt enforcement ...
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Heartland Institute Re-Publishes GGN Hill Column

The U.S. House should invoke a revised version of its historical inherent contempt enforcement power to address the refusal of ...
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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, media@goodgovernmentnow.org Experts to Debate Proposed Rule to Strengthen Civil Enforcement of ...
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