Continuing Obligations Under Congressional Subpoenas After the Adjournment of Congress

Headnotes: 

While congressional committees’ subpoenas are no longer effective after Congress’ adjournment sine die, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should, in the interest of comity and accommodation to the Legislative Branch, continue to be as responsive as possible to those committees’ requests for documents and other information.

The Administrator’s obligations under one of the subpoenas may be construed in light of the subcommittee chairman’s subsequent modification on the record of its terms. Compliance with the subpoena as so modified cannot form the basis of the “willful default” that is necessary for prosecution under the relevant criminal contempt statutes, 2 U.S.C. §§ 192, 194.

Updated July 9, 2014