Litigate or Legislate?

Edgar's picture

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives considered – and the Democratic majority passed – a very controversial resolution that bypasses past precedent of voting first to hold an individual in contempt of Congress before suing for information that has been requested. Introduction of this resolution follows the Democrats’ ongoing dissatisfaction with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s completed investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and their loud denial about the findings of the report.

While H. Res 430 was introduced to enforce some active subpoenas, the unprecedented resolution could cause serious long-term damage to the House as an institution. Specifically, H. Res. 430 authorizes the Judiciary Committee to initiate and intervene in judicial proceedings to force Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn to comply with certain subpoenas related to the Mueller Report. But the resolution also authorizes committee chairs to sue to enforce future subpoenas after only a vote of the partisan Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group rather than a vote of the entire House – as has been done historically.

 

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