Waxman, Stupak demand info from health insurers

by Walter Olson on August 19, 2009

A compulsory subpoena could follow if they don’t fork over information on “compensation of highly paid employees” and “expenses stemming from any event held outside company facilities in the past 2 1/2 years”, among other topics. As AP notes, industries that vocally support, rather than oppose, health care reform aren’t targets of the investigation. More: Politico.

{ 8 comments }

1 mojo 08.19.09 at 3:41 pm

Which pocket Judge is going to issue a subpoena for the internal records of a private company? These mooks have some stones, don’t they?

2 Walter Olson 08.19.09 at 3:44 pm

Others can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Congressional subpoenas do not require the approval of the judicial branch.

3 mojo 08.19.09 at 5:04 pm

But I suppose the Judiciary is going to enforce any penalties? Unless the Congress has some enforcement branch I’m unaware of.

4 Benjamin 08.19.09 at 5:15 pm

I think it is up to the executive branch to enforce the Congressional subpoenas.

5 mojo 08.19.09 at 5:25 pm

Hey, maybe they could issue some others, huh?

http://www.newbernsj.com/articles/financial-47286-fellow-decided.html

6 Waste93 08.19.09 at 6:18 pm

Something that has always bothered me. The issuing of subpoenas by Congress to private citizen or corporations. How is that not a seperations of powers issue? I would think that power would be limited to the judicial branch. Or at least limit them to only be valid when issued to the Executive branch (oversight responsibility).

7 Walter Olson 08.19.09 at 6:31 pm

The irony is that during the 1950s — also known, on this topic, as the “McCarthy era” — the use of legislative subpoenas was indeed highly controversial, with liberal groups attacking the use of such subpoenas as overbroad, invasive and a threat to liberty (and some conservatives defending them). When Congress passed into liberal control in the 1970s, all this was forgotten and adventurous subpoenas of the sort associated with Dingell and Waxman became routine.

As for executive-branch subpoenas, Congress has provided for such a thing in the form of powers for regulatory agencies to demand information from regulated parties. The dangers to liberty of an unbounded executive subpoena power, however, are manifest.

8 Todd Rogers 08.20.09 at 8:55 am

I think the same kind of powers were exercised in Salem, MA a few hundred years ago. Thankfully the town clerics and elders were able to vanquish the meandering devils. I can only hope Waxman et al are just as effective – we really – really need someone to keep an eye on things.

Comments on this entry are closed.