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Archive of posts filed under the Records of Congress category.

Can Congressional Committees Exempt their Oversight Correspondence from FOIA?

A minor kerfuffle erupted recently over letters sent by certain House committees, including the Committee on Financial Services, to agencies within their jurisdiction maintaining that future communications between the committee and the agency should be treated as “congressional records” not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. For example, this letter from Chairman Hensarling of [...]

BLAG, the Act of Production Doctrine and the Schock Case

Recent filings in the criminal case against former congressman Aaron Schock (see my last post) brought to my attention that a number of pleadings in the Schock grand jury proceedings have been unsealed. Among these were two briefs filed by the House Counsel on behalf of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) as amicus curiae [...]

Some Schocking Information About Congressional Records

Former congressman Aaron Schock, under investigation for financial misconduct while in office, has been in various disputes with the Justice Department about documents prosecutors are seeking from him. One of those disputes involves the somewhat peculiar legal status of documents from a Member’s personal congressional office. So the blog having been on hiatus for a [...]

The House All In on Sovereign Immunity

The House Ways & Means Committee has filed its response to the SEC’s enforcement action (see here and here). The House’s brief sheds some, though not much, light on its argument that the doctrine of sovereign immunity bars the subpoenas in question. The House relies primarily on a Second Circuit case, In re SEC ex [...]

The House’s Sovereign Immunity Objection to the SEC Subpoenas

As discussed in my last post, the SEC is suing the House Committee on Ways & Means and Brian Sutter, a committee staffer, to enforce two administrative subpoenas, one to the committee seeking documents and one to Sutter seeking both documents and testimony. A May 19 letter from the House General Counsel lays out 11 [...]

House Counsel and the Congressional “Client”

At the June 28 meeting of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a question arose about the role of House Counsel in providing legal advice to COGR and its members. Chairman Issa had requested and received a House Counsel opinion on whether Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment privilege by making an exculpatory [...]

The Senate’s Legal Basis for Muzzling Former Staffers

According to this story, Vicki Divoll, former counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has been barred by SSCI from discussing in the media (specifically Talking Points Memo) certain non-classified information relating to the committee’s oversight of intelligence programs. Divoll gave an interview to TPM regarding the congressional role in intelligence oversight and submitted [...]

Must Committee Websites Be Fair and Balanced?

An article this week by Fortune senior editor Stephen Gandel questions whether certain House committee websites, particularly that of the Financial Services Committee, comply with rules and regulations established by the Committee on House Administration. These provide that committee websites may not: Include personal, political, or campaign information. Be directly linked or refer to Web [...]

Inappropriate Behavior?

House Rule XI (g)(5) provides (5) To the maximum extent practicable, each committee shall— 
(A) provide audio and video coverage of each hearing or meeting for the transaction of business in a manner that allows the public to easily listen to and view the proceedings; and 
(B) maintain the recordings of such coverage in a [...]

What Happens to the Supercommittee’s Records?

This story by Richard Lardner of the Associated Press (“Debt-reduction ‘supercommittee’ hid in plain sight”) discusses how the “Supercommittee” has conducted its business largely behind closed doors. The article cites this blog’s view that the committee’s narrow interpretation of the term “meeting” as used in its open meeting rule enabled it to conduct virtually all [...]