Congressional Oversight and Investigations 101

Congress has extraordinary power to conduct oversight and investigations of both the Executive Branch and nongovernmental entities. Clients and counsel can find themselves thrust into a most curious world, with little warning, few protections, and much danger. Simply put: congressional investigations are a unique mix of policy, politics, procedure, prosecution, and publicity.

This article serves as a modest introduction to this complex subject, providing brief answers to six questions. What can Congress investigate? How does Congress investigate? When and why is this power used? What happens because of these investigations? What does this power mean for the subject of an inquiry? What will 2008 bring – who’s next?

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