Straight From DC

DC Dictionary: Contempt of Congress explained

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The House of Representatives voted 222-208 to hold former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress. Meadows joined former White House advisor Steve Bannon, whom the House also found to be in contempt of Congress.

Meadows and Bannon are far from the only people found to be in criminal contempt by Congress. Other big names with the charge include former Attorney General Eric Holder and the website Backpage.com.

Contempt of Congress occurs when a person interferes with Congressional action. Currently, it’s a misdemeanor charge and generally used when people don’t show for Congressional hearings for which they’ve been subpoenaed, or when they don’t provide subpoenaed documents.

Contempt of Congress is a tradition America brought over from British Parliament. In 1917, the Supreme Court affirmed the power in Marshall v. Gordon, ruling there would be a power implied to deal with contempt insofar as that authority was necessary to preserve and carry out the legislative authority given.”

As the Jan. 6 select committee continues its investigation, the committee has made several threats of contempt charges. But Congress doesn’t have the final say when it comes to charges. In this case, the select committee recommends charges for the full House to vote on. If the House votes to hold a person in criminal contempt it is up to the Department of Justice to prosecute the case.

If DOJ indicts, and there is a conviction, the person will have a fine of $100 to $1,000 and spend one month to a year behind bars.

Reporters: <<”Contempt of Congress”>>

<<”Contempt of Congress”>>

<<”Contempt of Congress”>>

Annie Andersen: THE PHRASE IS EVERYWHERE

Reporters: <<”Two counts of Contempt of Congress”>>

<<“Contempt of congress.”>>

Annie Andersen: BUT WHAT EXACTLY DOES CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS MEAN?

LET”S OPEN OUR DC DICTIONARY 

IN ITS MOST BASIC SENSE… CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS IS WHEN A PERSON INTERFERES WITH CONGRESSIONAL ACTION. 

CURRENTLY, IT’S A MISDEMEANOR CHARGE, GENERALLY USED WHEN PEOPLE DON’T SHOW AT HEARINGS THEY’VE BEEN SUBPOENAED FOR OR WHEN THEY DON’T PROVIDE SUBPOENAED DOCUMENTS. .

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD) <<”You can invoke your 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination to specific questions, if you think you committed a crime. You can claim executive privilege if you think you are President of the United States. But you can not blow off a subpoena In America.”>>

Annie Andersen: RECENTLY FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER WAS HELD IN CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS 

FOR REFUSING TO TURN OVER DOCUMENTS RELATED TO A COUNTERNARCOTICS STRATEGY. 

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)<<”We never moved toward contempt until the flow of meaningful documents dried up.”>>

Annie Andersen: THE ONLINE FORUM BACKPAGE WAS ALSO HELD IN CONTEMPT FOR REFUSING TO TURN OVER DOCUMENTS RELATED TO SEX TRAFFICKING.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): president I urge my colleagues to vote YES on this resolution and vindicate the authority of Congress to obtain information necessary for sound legislation to protect the most vulnerable among us.”>>

Annie Andersen: AND MORE RECENTLY, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR STEVE BANNON WAS HELD IN CONTEMPT AND INDICTED AFTER NO-SHOWING FOR A SUBPOENAED HEARING. 

CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS Is  A TRADITION CONGRESS BROUGHT OVER FROM BRITISH PARLIAMENT.. 

BUT IN 1917.. THE SUPREME COURT AFFIRMED THE POWER IN MARSHALL V GORDON SAYING  there would be a power implied to deal with contempt insofar as that authority was necessary to preserve and carry out the legislative authority given.”

Rep. Adam Schiff: <<”If we fail to uphold Congress’ power to compel information, then we cease to be a co-equal branch of government, unable to perform our oversight or check and abuses of executive power.”>>

Annie Andersen: AS THE JANUARY 6 SELECT COMMITTEE CONTINUES ITS INVESTIGATION… THREATS OF CONTEMPT CHARGES ARE ALL AROUND. 

Rep. Jamie Raskin: <<”We will hold you in contempt.”>>

Annie Andersen: BUT CONGRESS DOESN’T HAVE THE FINAL SAY WHEN IT COMES TO CHARGES.

CONGRESS VOTES WHETHER OR NOT THEY WANT TO FIND SOMEBODY CRIMINALLY CONTEMPT BUT IT’S UP TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IF THE CASE IS PROSECUTED. 

UNTIL RECENTLY IT HAD BEEN MORE THAN 35 YEARS SINCE THE D-O-J INDICTED SOMEBODY CHARGED WITH CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS. 

IF THE D-O-J INDICTS… AND THERE’S A CONVICTION, THE PERSON WILL HAVE A FINE OF A HUNDRED TO A THOUSAND DOLLARS AND SPEND BETWEEN A MONTH AND A YEAR BEHIND BARS

THAT’S CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS.

DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER D-C DICTIONARY IDEAS?

LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW. 

 

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The House of Representatives voted 222-208 to hold former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress. Meadows joined former White House advisor Steve Bannon, whom the House also found to be in contempt of Congress.

Meadows and Bannon are far from the only people found to be in criminal contempt by Congress. Other big names with the charge include former Attorney General Eric Holder and the website Backpage.com.

Contempt of Congress occurs when a person interferes with Congressional action. Currently, it’s a misdemeanor charge and generally used when people don’t show for Congressional hearings for which they’ve been subpoenaed, or when they don’t provide subpoenaed documents.

Contempt of Congress is a tradition America brought over from British Parliament. In 1917, the Supreme Court affirmed the power in Marshall v. Gordon, ruling there would be a power implied to deal with contempt insofar as that authority was necessary to preserve and carry out the legislative authority given.”

As the Jan. 6 select committee continues its investigation, the committee has made several threats of contempt charges. But Congress doesn’t have the final say when it comes to charges. In this case, the select committee recommends charges for the full House to vote on. If the House votes to hold a person in criminal contempt it is up to the Department of Justice to prosecute the case.

If DOJ indicts, and there is a conviction, the person will have a fine of $100 to $1,000 and spend one month to a year behind bars.

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