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Can Congress Enforce their Subpoenas? (Guest: William J. Murphy)

January 29, 2020

Policy Advisor William J. Murphy appears on The Federalist Society's podcast 'Necessary and Proper' to discuss the enforcement of congressional subpoenas.

Heartland Institute Center for Constitutional Reform Policy Advisor Dr. William J. Murphy discusses the proposal his organization, Good Government Now, has developed to strengthen congressional subpoena enforcement capacity. The proposal would establish an inherent contempt enforcement process whereby Congress could conduct trials of, convict, and directly sanction executive branch officials who defy congressional subpoenas with heavy personal fines ranging from $25,000 to $250,000. It also features a provision authorizing Congress to appoint private attorneys to prosecute persistently recalcitrant executive branch witnesses for criminal contempt in the event the inherent contempt fines are insufficient to motivate their compliance with a subpoena, an unfortunate necessity given the refusal of DOJ to undertake such prosecutions since 2006.  More information about these proposals is available on our website at: Inherent Contempt Enforcement Rule or

For the full podcast and more episodes, visit The Federalist Society here:

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Constitutional Reform
Dr. William J. Murphy is an Associate Professor of Social Science at the New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich, Rhode Island and a policy advisor to The Center for Constitutional Reform at The Heartland Institute. @wjmurphy2