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Archive of entries posted on April 2008

Agency Intervention After the Domenici Case

          The Senate Ethics Committee has issued a “qualified admonishment” of Senator Pete Domenici for making a telephone call in October 2006 to David Iglesias, then the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico.  Domenici called Iglesias to inquire about the timing of potential indictments in an ongoing federal grand jury probe of alleged [...]

Legislative Privilege and the Courts in America

At the time that the Constitution was ratified, it was unclear to what extent the Congress would enjoy the inherent privileges of the British Parliament.  Writing around 1800, Thomas Jefferson noted the arguments for and against recognizing congressional privileges beyond those explicitly conferred by the Constitution (such as the Speech or Debate privilege).  In favor [...]

Coconut Road Investigation Takes an Unconstitutional Detour

Yesterday, the Senate rejected Senator Coburn’s proposal to establish a joint House-Senate investigation of the Coconut Road earmark and instead adopted an amendment sponsored by Senator Boxer that would “direct” the Justice Department to conduct an investigation.  According to an article in The Hill, Majority Leader Reid’s office circulated a memo supporting the Boxer amendment [...]

Legislative Privilege in Britain

Legislative privilege is a concept that long pre-dates the Constitution, and was inherited from the British Parliament by the colonial legislatures, then by the state legislatures and finally by the Congress.  As Jefferson wrote in opening the discussion of privilege in his Manual of Parliamentary Practice (a work he prepared for his own guidance as [...]

First Test of New House Rule on Negotiating for Future Employment

         Congressman Albert Wynn has announced that he will leave the House in June and join the law firm of Dickstein Shapiro.  According to today’s Roll Call: “Wynn claims that he got clearance from the House ethics committee to begin negotiating for his Dickstein Shapiro job after he lost his primary in February, but he [...]