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Investigative Oversight: An Introduction to the Law, Practice and Procedure of Congressional Inquiry

Description: This report will provide an overview of some of the more common legal, procedural and practical issues, questions, and problems that committees have faced in the course of an investigation. Following a summary of the case law developing the scope and limitations of the power of inquiry, the essential tools of investigative oversight--subpoenas, staff interviews and depositions, grants of immunity, and the contempt power -- are described. Next, some of the special problems of investigating the executive are detailed, with particular emphasis on claims of presidential executive privilege, the problems raised by attempts to access information with respect to open or closed civil or criminal investigative matters, or to obtain information that is part of the agency deliberative process, and the effect on congressional access of statutory prohibitions on public disclosure. The discussion then focuses on various procedural and legal requirements that accompany the preparation for, and conduct of, an investigative hearing, including matters concerning jurisdiction, particular rules and requirements for the conduct of such proceedings, and the nature, applicability and scope of certain constitutional and common law testimonial privileges that may be claimed by witnesses. The case law and practice respecting the rights of minority party members during the investigative process is also reviewed. The report concludes with a description of the roles played by the offices of House General Counsel and Senate Legal Counsel in such investigations.
Date: April 7, 1995
Creator: Rosenberg, Morton
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act and Circular A-76

Description: This report begins with a brief history of Circular A-76, a review of the its key components, and an assessment of the implementation of the circular. The section on FAIR (Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act) describes how it emerged from a series of compromises, explains the statute's key provisions, and reviews the implementation process, including guidance issued by OMB. The final section addresses recent initiatives, notably the President's competitive sourcing initiative and the Commercial Activities Panel.
Date: April 6, 2007
Creator: Halchin, L. E.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Types of Committee Hearings

Description: This report describes the four types of congressional committee hearings: legislative, oversight, investigative, and confirmation. Hearings may be held on Capitol Hill or elsewhere (e.g., a committee member's district or state, or a site related to the subject of the hearing). These latter hearings are often referred to as field hearings.
Date: August 10, 2015
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Congressional Investigations of the Department of Justice, 1920-2012: History, Law, and Practice

Description: This report briefly reviews the legal basis for investigative oversight, followed by several prominent examples of congressional oversight that reflect the significant breadth and reach of the legislative investigative prerogative vis-à-vis the Department. The report alos reviews and assess the Department’s contentions, based on policy, common law, and constitutional privilege, that it has asserted to attempt to limit congressional access to agency information.
Date: November 5, 2012
Creator: Dolan, Alissa M. & Garvey, Todd
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Congressional Investigations: Subpoenas and Contempt Power

Description: When conducting investigations of the executive branch, congressional committees and Members of Congress generally receive the information required for legislative needs. If agencies fail to cooperate or the President invokes executive privilege, Congress can turn to a number of legislative powers that are likely to compel compliance. The two techniques described in this report are the issuance of subpoenas and the holding of executive officials in contempt. These techniques usually lead to an accommodation that meets the needs of both branches. Litigation is used at times, but federal judges generally encourage congressional and executive parties to settle their differences out of court. The specific examples in this report explain how information disputes arise and how they are resolved.
Date: April 2, 2003
Creator: Fisher, Louis
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department