By What Authority, Darrell Issa
1. The Chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Darrell Issa (R-Calif) has issued a subpoena for a deposition, issued to Thomas Pickering, co-chair of the independent review board, as to the 2012 Benghazi tragedy. How so? A first fast look at a commonly used legislative resource site, the Gibson Dunn site, suggests all is well: see http://www.gibsondunn.com/publications/pages/PowertoInvestigate-AuthoritiesOfHouseAndSenateCommittees.aspx/ The Pickering subpoena has issues.
That summary cover page Pollyanna presentation at Gibson Dunn obscures the very footnote in the material that raises the question of whether House support, or Senate support, is needed to authorize deposition subpoenas.
Researcher, watch the asterisks in the main body of material. Watch when summary reports delete them in summaries. Beware. The Gibson Dunn site is frequently cited, see, e.g., http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/corpgov/2011/08/14/investigative-authorities-of-house-and-senate-committees/
2. The power of a committee to issue such a subpoena for a deposition is not clear. Deposition subpoenas require authority of the House, for House Committees; or the Senate, for Senate Committees, it appears. Will a majority of the full House support it? Can they declare victory with a mere majority of the majority, and go home free?
2.1 Research - See The Table of Authorities of House and Senate Committees, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher 2011, http://www.gibsondunn.com/publications/Documents/HouseSenateCommitteeRulesChart.pdf. Scroll to Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, at page 7 of the 19 pages (click!).
Find all is not well. Find this oops instead of information. Quote unquote -- and our own font for emphasis --
This is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?http://oversight.house.gov/images/stories/Other_Documents/ogr%20committee%20rules%20resolution.pdf
It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help. [and there is a set of links, none of which address the issue]
Ask self: Is something being scrubbed even as we speak? What and where is the missing link?
2.2 Digging. Back at the site at page 7, at the Oversight Committee, find Compulsory Deposition Authority heading on the lateral axis. There is a little mystery double asterisk deep inside. All is not well.
Quote unquote -- showing the little double asterisk leading to the disclaimer -- and our own font for emphasis --
"Chairman of fullhttp://www.gibsondunn.com/publications/Documents/HouseSenateCommitteeRulesChart.pdf [same page 7 of 19]
committee, in consultation
with Ranking Mem
may order the taking of
depositions** under oath
and pursuant to notice or subpoena. [Rule 15(a)]"
Asterisks? Qualifiers? Disclaimers? What?
2.3 Follow the double asterisk. Asterisks lead below the surface.
There indeed is a disclaimer, a qualifier of the impression clearly given in the main body, that makes all not so clear.
Quote unquote and our own font again:
" ** Whether committees have authority to compel a witness to take a deposition absent authorization from the Senate or the House, is unclear."http://www.gibsondunn.com/publications/Documents/HouseSenateCommitteeRulesChart.pdf
So: Quo Warranto Issa.
3. Others who are experts: find and follow the dots.
Pickering may have a valid defense, maybe not.
In the alternative, why not a Pre-emptive Position Statement.
if he can be compelled to a deposition held out of public view, can he issue his own full statement pre-emptively beforehand. Anybody around courts knows how depositions can be abused, partially presented, gesticulations made, and the guts or rather gist, lost in showtime.
House Committee Chair Darrell Issa serves deposition subpoena, Benghazi hearing, see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/17/thomas-pickering-subpoena_n_3294366.html