Partners Alyssa DaCunha and Joel Green, co-chairs of WilmerHale’s Congressional Investigations Practice, and Associate Anna Noone recently published an article about congressional subpoenas as part of Bloomberg Law’s Insights 2023 Outlook series. In the article, the attorneys analyze the role of subpoenas in congressional investigations and discuss the need for contingency plans when responding to inquiries.
Excerpt: While prior Congresses infrequently resorted to subpoenas as a method of enforcing compliance with their investigations, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol made more liberal use of compulsory process over the past year.
The Jan. 6 committee has reportedly issued over 80 subpoenas, which have led to two key developments. First, there has been a substantial increase in the amount of litigation related to Congress’s authority to issue and enforce such subpoenas, as well as in corresponding case law showing the reach and limits of congressional subpoena power. Second, the practice may carry over into the Republican-controlled House as incoming committee leadership seeks to match the resources and energy devoted to oversight in the prior Congress.
Both developments have implications for private parties in congressional inquiries. Potential oversight targets should have a plan to respond to congressional inquiries quickly and effectively.