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Beyer Defends State AGs from Unlawful Subpoenas

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Washington, September 14, 2016 | comments

At today’s Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing, Congressman Don Beyer questioned expert legal witnesses on the Science Committee’s limited subpoena power, in response to Chairman Lamar Smith’s overzealous harassment of state attorneys general (AGs) and environmental non-profit organizations.

“The House Science Committee’s record of promoting sound science and finding bipartisan solutions has been tarnished thanks to Chairman Smith’s actions,” said Rep. Beyer.  “This Committee has no business harassing state attorneys general from investigating credible claims that ExxonMobil hid evidence from its shareholders related to the potential risks posed by climate change.”

Rep. Beyer highlighted a recent interview of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Video of that exchange can be viewed here.

In discussing the possible pay-to-play scandal involving Florida AG Pam Bondi and Donald Trump, Chairman Chaffetz said, “I don’t see the federal jurisdiction in this case. It does look to me to be a state issue. It’s regarding an attorney general in Florida. I just don’t see the federal jurisdiction.”

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has the “broadest” oversight jurisdiction of House Committees, able to investigate government-wide, according to Prof. Charles Tiefer, former Acting General Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives. Asked to comment on how Science Committee investigative jurisdiction could somehow exceed Oversight and Government Reform jurisdiction, Prof. Tiefer stated simply, “If they don’t have it, you don’t have it.”

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