Holding the Government Accountable

POGO to Launch Congressional Subpoena Rule Database

The start of each new Congress marks the chance to adopt new rules, which cover a wide range of procedural matters, for the next two years. For example, committees and subcommittees may choose to lay out the procedures for issuing subpoenas and taking depositions.

The Project On Government Oversight believes that oversight efforts, including investigations, are most credible and have the greatest impact when conducted in a bipartisan fashion. To help facilitate this, POGO’s Congressional Oversight Initiative, which seeks to improve and support Congress’s ability to conduct effective oversight, has begun to create an online database of each committee’s and subcommittee’s subpoena and deposition rules.

This database will consist of two charts. The first is a detailed chart that includes the text of the rules and a hyperlink to the section of the rules dealing with these powers. The second is a shorthand, color-coded, reference explaining the procedures for issuing a subpoena or taking depositions in the different committees and subcommittees that adopted such rules, so that staffers can get this information at a glance.

The rules POGO has compiled are from the 113th Congress, which we sent out to committee and subcommittee staff today so they have a quick reference as they consider rules going forward. We will be updating the charts once the new rules are voted on for the 114th Congress.

We recognize that the effectiveness of the rules depend largely on the leadership of the committee and subcommittee, and encourage staffers to submit comments, either here on this blog or through email, about their experiences with these different types of rules.

Click here if you would like to see the chart with the full text of the subpoena and deposition rules of the 113th Congress.