Emerging Legal Issues in Congressional Oversight and Investigation
Organizer: Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group
The 116th Congress may rank with those of the Teapot Dome Scandal and Watergate in terms of its importance in defining the congressional powers of oversight and investigation. In just over a year, this Congress has seen a presidential impeachment trial that revolved, in part, around allegations that the president obstructed an impeachment investigation as well as an unprecedented amount of litigation regarding Congress's investigatory powers.
This meeting of the Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group will discuss these cases and the significant issues they have raised, including: How to distinguish between investigations for purposes of legislative oversight, impeachment, and for other purposes? What constitutes a "legitimate legislative purpose" needed for a congressional investigation? To what extent can the president invoke executive privilege or "absolute immunity"? Does Congress have standing to sue to enforce subpoenas? Does executive branch counsel have the right to attend depositions of current or former government officials? What is the extent of Congress' power to obtain grand jury information? May Congress seek tax records or other personal information of the president?