When congressional committees ask hard questions, the landscape for engagement is unique and it is critical to have specialized and experienced counsel. The rules and norms governing congressional investigations are unlike any other government body. Moreover, congressional inquiries often take place under the glare of media, political and public scrutiny — and rarely occur in isolation. Multiple government actors may be examining the same nexus of facts: Congress may be asking to hear from the CEO while internal investigations, as well as state or federal agency investigations, are ongoing. In that context, the role of legal advisor entails being a holistic strategist: understanding the political motivations and incentives driving the inquiries; advising how to answer similar questions being posed in different forums at the same time; and anticipating and mitigating other legal and business reputation risks. In the age of social media, a full-blown corporate crisis can break out quickly and turn the tide for companies’ brands and financial strength, making advance preparation critical.
How we assist
Our Congressional Investigations team draws on the specific experience of members of our Government Controversies and Public Policy Litigation Practice, which is led by former United States Department of Justice Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli and former Chief of Staff to the Governor of California Ann O’Leary. The team leverages a deep understanding of how congressional committees conduct investigations, including the unique scope of their subpoena power and enforcement procedures and the surrounding political landscape. Our lawyers know from personal experience – in both guiding and responding to some of the most high-profile congressional investigations and hearings in recent memory – how congressional staffers handle their inquiries, how they negotiate document requests and deal with subjects, and the options available to entities and individuals expecting or confronted by an investigation. We have represented numerous high-profile clients under congressional scrutiny, including preparing senior executives to give congressional testimony while simultaneously dealing with related risks such as civil actions, criminal allegations, and attacks on a client's reputation.