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Issa Response to Cummings Provides No House Counsel Memo and Cites No Legal Experts on Botched Contempt Proceedings

Mar 14, 2014
Press Release

Washington, DC (Mar. 14, 2014)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to a letter from Chairman Darrell Issa arguing that he did not compromise any House contempt action against former IRS employee Lois Lerner when he prematurely and abruptly ended last week’s hearing after cutting off Cummings’ microphone.  Issa’s letter does not provide any memo or opinion from House Counsel or any other legal experts to support his interpretation of the Constitution:

“Not two, but seven independent Constitutional law experts have now concluded that Chairman Issa botched the contempt proceedings.  The Chairman’s letter today provides no House Counsel memo or opinion, even though he and Speaker Boehner claimed they had one this week, and it cites no experts who support his inaccurate view of the Constitution and the law.  The entire country has now seen firsthand how Chairman Issa runs this Committee in violation of House Rules, and no reasonable person would accept his legal views over those of the United States Supreme Court. Contrary to Chairman Issa’s accusations, we are not defending Lois Lerner or her actions—we are defending the Constitution and the rights it guarantees to all Americans.”

On Wednesday, Cummings released an independent legal analysis from two of the nation’s preeminent experts in Constitutional law and congressional contempt proceedings concluding that Committee Chairman Darrell Issa compromised any House contempt action against Lois Lerner when he rushed to adjourn the Committee’s hearing last Wednesday.  

The analysis was authored by Morton Rosenberg, who served for 35 years as a Specialist in American Public Law at the Congressional Research Service, and was joined by Stan Brand, who served as House Counsel from 1976 to 1983 and “fully subscribes” to Mr. Rosenberg’s legal analysis and conclusions.

Since then, numerous other legal experts have identified defects in Issa’s contempt proceedings.

113th Congress