On Jan. 24, 2019, a Grand Jury for the District of Columbia issued a seven-count indictment charging a political operative with Obstruction of an Official Proceeding, False Statements, and Witness Tampering in connection with his testimony before a Congressional Committee and related communications.
This, unfortunately, is not an anomaly, as evidenced by recent unrelated guilty pleas for lying to Congress. In November 2018, an attorney pled guilty to False Statements in connection with statements he made to a Senate Committee about a real estate project in Russia (United States v. Michael Cohen, 1:18-cr-00850 (S.D.N.Y)). In September 2016, a political consultant pled guilty to False Statements in connection with statements he made to the House Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) about official funds used to pay for campaign-related services (United States v. Brett O'Donnell, 5:15-cr-00034 (M.D.G.A.)). As the 116th Congress begins its oversight and investigations agenda, individuals and entities should strongly consider retaining counsel prior to interacting with Congressional oversight and investigations staff, so that they are aware of their rights, can be properly prepared for testimony, and so that they can ensure that their written and verbal statements are complete and truthful.