Prosecuting Offenses Against Congress, and More from CRS

08.05.16 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

If someone lied to Congress under oath, how would criminal prosecution of such an offense be initiated?

The suggestion by some Republican members of Congress that Hillary Clinton may have perjured herself in testimony before Congress provided an occasion for the Congressional Research Service to review the relevant law.

“The constitutional separation of powers significantly limits Congress’s role in the enforcement of federal law,” CRS explained. “Because exercising both the power to make and enforce the law would be an apparent violation of the separation of powers, Congress may neither itself, nor through its officers, directly enforce federal law.”

However, “In limited circumstances, Congress has enacted referral procedures in an attempt to influence or participate in the process by which certain criminal provisions are enforced. The criminal contempt of Congress statute provides such an example.” See Prosecution of Criminal Offenses against Congress, CRS Legal Sidebar, July 26, 2016.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

Security Cooperation and the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), CRS Insight, July 27, 2016

The Islamist Militant Threat in Bangladesh, CRS Insight, July 21, 2016

Federal Assistance for Victims of Terrorism or Mass Violence: In Brief, August 3, 2016

Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations in Brief, updated August 4, 2016

A New Aid Package for Israel, CRS Insight, August 4, 2016

An Apparent First in U.S. Law Enforcement Use of Unmanned Ground Vehicles, CRS Insight, July 26, 2016

Human Trafficking and Forced Labor: Trends in Import Restrictions, CRS Insight, July 29, 2016

2016 Rio Games: Anti-Doping Testing, CRS Insight, August 3, 2016

Fatal Balloon Accident Highlights Disagreement Between Safety Agencies, CRS Insight, August 4, 2016

Workers’ Compensation: Overview and Issues, August 3, 2016

Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy, updated August 3, 2016

Orlando Shooting Revives Debate over Restricting Blood Donations by Gay Men, CRS Insight, August 1, 2016

Zika Poses New Challenges for Blood Centers, CRS Insight, August 4, 2016

The Federal Circuit Rules on Trademarks Considered Offensive: May Affect Redskins Trademark Dispute, CRS Legal Sidebar, August 4, 2016