House Committee on Government Reform

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Group.png House Committee on Government Reform  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
House Oversight Committee.png
Parent organizationUS/House
The main investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives.

The Committee on Oversight and Reform is the main investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives.

The committee's broad jurisdiction and legislative authority make it one of the most influential and powerful panels in the House. Its chairman is one of only three in the House with the authority to issue subpoenas without a committee vote or consultation with the ranking member.[1] However, in recent history, it has become practice to refrain from unilateral subpoenas.[2]

Prominent hearings and investigations

Between 2000 and 2006, many major events and scandals in the Bush administration generated few or no subpoenas from the Republican-led committee. These events included the September 11 attacks; the leaking of classified information identifying Central Intelligence Agency agent Valerie Plame; CIA-backed abuses at Abu Ghraib prison; the Bush administration claim that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction; illegal campaign contributions by lobbyists, including Jack Abramoff; deaths and damage due to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's weak response to Hurricane Katrina; and Philip Cooney's suppression of data demonstrating the existence of global warming. After the release of the Downing Street memo, which contained incriminating information on the buildup to the Iraq War, Democrats in the minority were refused a hearing chamber and were forced to meet in the basement of the United States Capitol.[3]

On July 8, 2009, committee Republicans released an investigative staff report discussing the financial crisis of 2007–2008. The report alleged that the government had caused the collapse by meddling in the United States' housing and lending market in the name of "affordable housing".[4]

After Aaron Swartz allegedly committed suicide on January 11, 2013, the committee investigated the Justice Department's actions in prosecuting Swartz on hacking charges.[5] On January 28, Issa and ranking member Elijah Cummings published a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, questioning whether prosecutors had intentionally added felony counts to increase the amount of prison time Swartz faced.[6]

On July 10, 2019 a hearing was held by the United States House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties entitled "Kids in Cages: Inhumane Treatment at the Border" on the "inhumane treatment of children and families" inside child detention centers on the southern US border.[7]

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