Dems Seek Votes on 12 More Subpoena Motions At Wednesday’s Oversight Committee Markup

May 21, 2018
Press Release
If Republicans Refuse, Will Bring to 45 Total Number of Blocked Subpoena Motions

Washington, DC (May 21, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter requesting that Chairman Trey Gowdy place 12 motions for subpoenas on the agenda for the Committee’s upcoming business meeting on Wednesday, May 23, 2018.  

For each request, Cummings and other Committee Members previously sent Gowdy detailed letters setting forth the specific bases for the motions.  They include a wide range of oversight requests within the core jurisdiction of the Committee—some of which had been bipartisan.  House rules allow Committees to debate and vote on motions to issue subpoenas if a majority of Committee Members approve, but Gowdy has declined or ignored all requests to obtain these documents or testimony.

“I understand that you personally may disagree with these requests, but our Committee Members deserve the opportunity to debate and vote on these motions, rather than you blocking their consideration,” Cummings wrote.  “House rules provide for subpoenas to be issued by a vote of the full Committee, and we have repeatedly asked for the opportunity to do so.  Many Members believe that we must use the full force of the Committee to uphold our Constitutional obligation to conduct rigorous oversight of the executive branch.  I ask that you allow us to offer these motions, debate them, and hold votes.”

Gowdy has not issued a single subpoena as Chairman of the Oversight Committee during the Trump Administration.

The motions in today’s letter relate to the following 12 investigations in which documents and testimony are currently being withheld:


Today’s letter follows multiple previous requests by Committee Democrats for votes on requests for subpoenas.  

On May 18, 2018, Republicans blocked a subpoena to compel their own witness, a top appointee at the Department of Justice, to answer questions on the Trump Administration’s decision to add a census citizenship question.  Republicans immediately moved to table the subpoena motion, and then voted along party lines to block debate on the motion. 


On March 13, 2018, Cummings and Rep. Gerald E. Connolly sent a request to Gowdy asking for 13 motions for subpoenas to be added to the agenda for the business meeting the Committee held on March 15, 2018—all of which were denied:


Cummings and Connolly sent Gowdy a similar request on February 2, 2018, asking for 13 motions for subpoenas to be added to the agenda for the business meeting the Committee held on February 6, 2018—all of which were denied:

Cummings also sent Gowdy a request on October 31, 2017, asking for six motions for subpoenas to be added to the agenda for the business meeting the Committee held on November 2, 2017, but these were also denied:

Click here to read today’ letter. 

115th Congress