GGN is recommending that Congress adopt our inherent contempt fines rule and independent criminal contempt prosecution provision to address the crisis in the declining effectiveness of congressional oversight of the executive branch that has been developing over the past four decades. This proposal would establish an inherent contempt enforcement process whereby the House could conduct trials of, convict, and directly sanction executive branch officials who defy congressional subpoenas with heavy personal fines ranging from $25,000 to $250,000. The proposed rule also features a provision authorizing the House to appoint private attorneys to prosecute persistently recalcitrant executive branch witnesses for criminal contempt in the event the inherent contempt fines are insufficient to motivate their compliance with a subpoena, an unfortunate necessity given the refusal of DOJ to undertake such prosecutions since 2007.
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