As administration stonewalls Congress, Democrats consider using historical ‘inherent contempt’ power
House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings says Democrats should consider all tools available them to force administration compliance with congressional subpoenas and oversight requests, including fines or jail time. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Administration officials could face fines or jail time for ignoring congressional subpoenas, as House Democrats say they’re seriously considering reviving a congressional power that has not been used since the 1930s.
President Donald Trump has publicly urged administration officials not to comply with congressional subpoenas, and some have started heeding the advice. House Democrats have made no formal decisions about how to respond to the Trump administration’s stonewalling of their oversight investigations, but one option on the table is the historical process of “inherent contempt.”