'Not Valid or Lawful': McCarthy Responds to Jan. 6 Panel Subpoena in Lengthy Letter


Elliot S. Berke, attorney to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), on May 27 responded to a May 12 subpoena by the controversial Jan. 6 Committee, rejecting the subpoena as being neither “valid” nor “lawful.”

McCarthy, along with Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), and Mo Brooks (R-Ala.)—all of whom have been outspoken critics of the panel—received the subpoenas in an unprecedented break with House tradition, which has never seen a sitting member of Congress subpoenaed.

Almost every lawmaker on the list, including McCarthy and Jordan, has in the past received and refused requests from the Jan. 6 panel to voluntarily cooperate.

In a May 25 letter, Jordan publicly rejected the subpoena as a “political vendetta” that is in contravention of standing House rules.

Now, McCarthy has followed suit in his own lengthy response to the Jan. 6 panel’s subpoena (pdf).

While Berke acknowledged that “Congress has a constitutional obligation to conduct rigorous oversight as part of this country’s founding principles of checks and balances and separation of powers,” he also noted that “Congress’s subpoena authority is not without limitation.”

“All valid and lawfully issued subpoenas must be respected and honored,” Berke continued. “Unfortunately, the words and actions of the Select Committee and its members have made it clear that it is not exercising a valid or lawful use of Congress’ subpoena power.

“In fact,” Berke continued, “the Select Committee is not even operating in compliance with the rules its own members voted to put in place.”

Specifically, he noted that the resolution authorizing the creation of the panel allowed the minority party to have five seats, selected by the minority leader.

“Speaker Pelosi violated 232 years of continuous precedent by refusing to allow the minority party to select its representation on the committee,” Berke said.

“It has since engaged in a series of actions that further distance it from its authorizing resolution in violation of the House Rules and precedents. At no time in the history of the House has the majority denied the minority the right to select its representation nor constituted a Congressional committee in violation of the Rules of the House. And at no time in the history of the House has the majority failed to honor the House’s deposition and subpoena authority.

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