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Correction: Is it legal to lie to Congress?

Feb 16, 2019

From a reader, who writes....

I believe the video is incorrect;

SEC. 2. RESTORING FALSE STATEMENTS PROHIBITION.

 Section 1001 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

``Sec. 1001. Statements or entries generally

    ``(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully--

            ``(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;

            ``(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or

            ``(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;

 shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

    ``(b) Subsection (a) does not apply to a party to a judicial proceeding, or that party's counsel, for statements, representations, writings or documents submitted by such party or counsel to a judge or magistrate in that proceeding.

   ``(c) With respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, subsection (a) shall apply only to--

            ``(1) administrative matters, including a claim for payment, a matter related to the procurement of property or services, personnel or employment practices, or support services, or a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch; or

            ``(2) any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate.''.

It actually says the opposite:  you may NOT lie to Congress.  You may lie to the Judge or magistrate in a judicial proceeding, and so can your lawyer, especially if he is trying to make you testify to Congress. 

Here’s the summary of the law’s purpose:

False Statements Accountability Act of 1996 - Amends the Federal criminal code to specify the applicability to the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of provisions prohibiting anyone from knowingly and willfully making misrepresentations to the Government. Provides that such provisions: (1) shall not apply with respect to statements, representations, writings, or documents submitted to a judge or magistrate by a party or that party's counsel in a judicial proceeding; and (2) shall apply to the legislative branch only with respect to administrative matters or any congressional investigation or review conducted consistent with House or Senate rules.

Defines "corruptly," for purposes of the prohibition on obstructing proceedings before a Federal agency or the Congress, to mean acting with an improper purpose, personally or by influencing another, including making a false or misleading statement, or withholding, concealing, altering, or destroying a document or other information.

Amends the Federal judicial code to limit the exemption of a Government officer or employee acting within an official capacity from U.S. district court jurisdiction to enforce a Senate subpoena or order to executive branch officers or employees refusing to comply based on a governmental privilege or objection authorized by the executive branch and not on a personal privilege or objection.

Amends the Federal criminal code to authorize a U.S. district court to order an individual to provide information which he or she refuses to provide on the basis of the privilege against self-incrimination in proceedings ancillary to either House of Congress. (Currently, such authority applies only to proceedings before either House.)


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Category: In The News
Blog Author: Dr. Stephen Jones