Investigations of Members of Congress

When either House exercises a judicial function, as in judging of elections or determining whether a member should be expelled, it is clearly entitled to compel the attendance of witnesses to disclose the facts upon which its action must be based. Thus, the Court held that since a House had a right to expel a member for any offense which it deemed incompatible with his trust and duty as a member, it was entitled to investigate such conduct and to summon private individuals to give testimony concerning it.201 The decision in Barry v. United States ex rel. Cunningham202 sanctioned the exercise of a similar power in investigating a senatorial election.

Footnotes

201
In re Chapman, 166 U.S. 661 (1897). [Back to text]
202
279 U.S. 597 (1929). [Back to text]