House judiciary panel files civil lawsuit to enforce Miers, Bolten subpoenas

[JURIST] The US House Judiciary Committee filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF; press release] Monday to enforce subpoenas seeking information from former White House legal counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten [official profiles] regarding the US Attorneys firing scandal [JURIST news archive]. Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) said Monday:

It is extremely rare that Congress must litigate in order to enforce subpoenas and no compromise can be reached. Unfortunately, this administration simply will not negotiate towards a compromise resolution so we must proceed.
Late last month, US Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey urging him to begin a grand jury investigation [JURIST report] into the conduct of the two White House aides and saying that the House would initiate a civil lawsuit if she did not receive a response within one week. Mukasey refused to present the contempt citations to a grand jury [JURIST report] in a response the following day.

Members of the House voted 223-32 [roll call, JURIST report] last month to issue contempt citations for Miers for failing to testify and citations for both Miers and Bolten for refusing to produce documents related to the 2006-2007 firings. The White House has said that the information sought in the inquiry is protected by executive privilege [press briefing transcript] and that both Miers and Bolten are immune from prosecution. AP has more.


 

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