Testifying Before Congress
Deeply embedded in political Washington D.C., Oberheiden P.C. is to go-to boutique firm for elected officials, high-profile executives, and public figures subpoenaed to testify before Congress. Recent representations include:
- Lead counsel to sitting U.S. Governor
- Lead counsel to U.S. Diplomat
- Lead counsel to Defense Contractor
- Lead counsel to High-Profile DOJ Official
- Lead counsel in White House Matter
- Lead counsel to Wall Street Financier
- Lead counsel to CEO of Public Company
We don’t have associates. Unlike most firms, you will not work with or be billed for junior lawyers or secretaries. We instantly connect you, directly and confidentially, to senior counsel with substantial insight and experience:
- Insight understanding on positions and question history of committee members
- Tailored preparation for friendly and adverse questioning
- No associate lawyers, no paralegals, no junior lawyers
If you have been subpoenaed to testify before Congress, you need to make sure you are fully prepared. Regardless of which congressional committee issued the subpoena, you will have enemies in the House or Senate Chamber, and you will need to know how to handle them effectively.
The testimony you provide to Congress could impact not only your personal interests and your company’s interests, but also the interests of your entire industry—if not the United States at large. At Oberheiden P.C., we understand what is at stake when you have been called to testify on Capitol Hill, and we can use our experience to make sure your testimony goes your way. With offices in Washington D.C., our lawyers are a constant presence on the Hill, and we can use our experience, insights, and influence to your advantage.
Our firm represents individuals subpoenaed by all congressional committees. Our congressional testimony lawyers have significant experience in a broad range of federal cases, and they work alongside former high-ranking federal agents who have testified before Congress themselves. These former agents also work with our clients as consultants, helping them prepare so that they know exactly what to expect when their hearing dates arrive.
Our lawyers’ and consultants’ relevant experience includes:
- Abundant Experience in Federal Investigations – Our lawyers and consultants have represented and advised numerous individual and corporate clients facing investigations involving Congress and all major federal law enforcement agencies. Many of our lawyers have prior experience as former U.S. Attorneys and Assistant U.S. Attorneys, and all our consultants have prior experience in federal law enforcement.
- Providing Testimony Before Congress – Several of our consultants testified before congressional committees during their tenure with the federal government. This includes testifying as Special Agents and Senior Special Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Secret Service, among other agencies.
- Helping Clients Avoid Civil and Criminal Prosecution – We have helped most of our clients avoid civil and criminal prosecution despite facing federal investigations. In fact, we have protected most of our clients against facing federal charges.
- Representing Clients in Political Matters – Several of our federal lawyers have experience in political law. This includes representing politicians, candidates, lobbyists, and other individuals and entities in congressional and federal law enforcement matters.
- Assisting Clients with Crisis Management – The need to testify before Congress often arises in connection with a corporate crisis. If your company is in crisis, either privately or publicly, we can assist with all aspects of crisis management.
Testifying Before the House Lawyer
Meet Your Team
Preparing to testify before Congress truly requires a team effort. You cannot afford to take chances, and you cannot entrust your preparations to inexperienced lawyers or consultants. When you choose Oberheiden P.C., your team will be composed entirely of senior-level attorneys and consultants, all of whom have vast relevant experience. Some of the members of our Congressional Investigations and Testimony practice group include:
Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Dr. Nick Oberheiden is our firm’s Founding Attorney. He has personally represented hundreds of clients across the country in federal matters. Dr. Oberheiden has earned a nationwide reputation as a forceful and effective advocate for clients facing high-stakes investigations, and he regularly appears in the media as a commentator for high-profile federal cases.
Joe Brown is a former U.S. Attorney appointed by President Trump. He previously served as an elected District Attorney in Texas for 17 years. Mr. Brown is intimately familiar with Congress’s inner workings, and he has represented both the government and private clients in an extremely broad range of federal matters.
John Sellers served as a Trial Attorney in the DOJ’s Criminal Division in Washington D.C. He is also the former Acting Chief Investigative Counsel to the Special Inspector General for the Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP). Mr. Sellers was one of the DOJ’s top specialists on asset forfeiture during his tenure, and today he focuses his practice on matters involving complex financial crimes and related offenses.
Timothy Allen is a former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service who testified before Congress during his tenure. He also served as a Senior Special Agent and Computer Forensics Examiner with the DOJ. Mr. Allen maintains Top Secret and TS/SCI Sensitive Compartmented Information Clearance, and he has consulted with CEOs, directors, and other clients on an extremely broad range of federal fraud, corruption, and other white-collar matters.
Understanding the Powers and Functions of Congressional Committees
Congressional committees enjoy substantial authority to conduct investigations related to legislative agendas—and to subpoena individuals in the process. But Congress’s investigative powers are not absolute, and this is important to keep in mind when assessing whether, how, and to what extent to prepare testimony for a congressional committee hearing.
Congressional Committee Jurisdiction
Congress’s authority to issue subpoenas for investigative purposes is found in Article I of the U.S. Constitution. The House and Senate have both established several committees, and each of these committees is endowed with the authority to issue subpoenas and take testimony within the scope of its congressional mandate. From natural resources to technology, and from health care to homeland security, congressional committees exercise their authority and jurisdiction to investigate possible unlawful activity, evaluate domestic and foreign policy options, and gather intelligence to inform an extremely broad array of congressional activities and legislative initiatives.
How Congressional Committees Prepare for Questioning
Once a congressional committee issues a subpoena, members of the committee prepare to question the witness in a variety of different ways. This includes speaking with experts both internal and external to Congress, reviewing relevant documents, and consulting with congressional lawyers at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). To an extent, the witness’s lawyer can play a role in this process as well. The witness’s lawyer can communicate with Senators or Representatives on the committee in advance, seek to understand and inform their opinions, and encourage those who are sympathetic to the witness to make sure they attend the hearing.
Can (and Should) You Refuse to Testify?
Testifying in response to a valid congressional committee subpoena is mandatory. If a subpoena recipient refuses to testify during a congressional investigation, the committee can enforce the subpoena by either (i) holding the witness in contempt and imposing sanctions, (ii) seeking criminal contempt charges through a referral to the DOJ, or (iii) initiating a civil lawsuit to enforce the subpoena in federal district court.
As a practical matter, however, congressional subpoena recipients can – and do – refuse to testify. In most cases, this leads to civil litigation; and, in some cases, the practicalities of litigation can lead to the witness’s testimony no longer being needed. Settlement is also a possibility; and, through the settlement negotiation process, subpoena recipients can limit the scope of their testimony or obtain an agreement that their hearing will take place behind closed doors.
Testifying Before the House Economics Committee Attorney
How We Can Help You Prepare
If you have received a subpoena to testify in connection with a congressional investigation, our lawyers and consultants will work closely with you to help you prepare. We take a comprehensive and detail-oriented approach, and our exhaustive efforts will ensure that you are ready and confident when you walk into the U.S. Capitol Building. The ways in which our congressional testimony lawyers and consultants will help you prepare include:
- Understanding the Congressional Committee’s Investigation – Understanding the scope, nature, and purpose of the committee’s investigation is crucial for effective preparation.
- Researching the Senators and Representatives on the Committee – Knowing as much about each member of the committee as possible allows our lawyers to anticipate questions, questioning styles, and motives.
- Understanding the Purpose and Goal of Testifying – Just as important as knowing the purpose of the investigation is knowing why you are testifying—not only in terms of what is in it for the committee, but also in terms of what is in it for you and your company.
- How to Address Senators or Representatives on the Committee – Even now, decorum still matters on Capitol Hill. We will help make sure you do not unknowingly make embarrassing mistakes.
- Fifth Amendment and Attorney-Client Privilege Concerns – As with any federal investigative or law enforcement matter, knowing if to assert the Fifth Amendment and attorney-client privileges is vital.
- General “Dos and Don’ts” When Testifying Before Congress – From sharing unsolicited information to getting into heated exchanges, knowing what to do and what not to do during a congressional committee hearing are equally important.
- Your Obligation to Your Company vs. Your Obligation to Congress – As a corporate executive, your obligations to your company’s shareholders might not align with your obligations to Congress. If this comes to pass, you will need to be prepared.
- Going Over Sample Questions from Previous Hearings – Reviewing questions from previous committee hearings and conducting mock interviews are both highly-effective means of preparing congressional testimony.
- Handling Friendly Members vs. Handling Adversarial Members – In most cases, some members of the committee will be on your side, and some won’t. Friendly and hostile exchanges require equal preparation and tact.
- Responding to Tough Questions – Responding to tough questions appropriately can prevent a congressional committee hearing from turning into a disaster, while responding inappropriately can lead to a cascade of negative consequences.
Testifying Before the House Financial Services Committee Lawyer
How We Can Help During Your Testimony
Once the time to prepare is up, it is time to testify. In addition to assisting our clients with their preparations and working with them in lockstep as they get ready to head to Washington D.C., our lawyers also travel to Washington D.C. to represent our clients before Congress. On Capitol Hill, our lawyers will:
Representing You Before Congress
Our lawyers will appear with you before the congressional committee. We will be in communication with members of the committee as appropriate leading up to your testimony, and we will be by your side when you walk into the U.S. Capitol Building.
Advising You While You are Under Questioning
Our lawyers will advise you during your congressional testimony. We will explain anything you need to know, and we will answer any questions you may have about what to say, what not to say, or how to present yourself to the committee.
Objecting to Impertinent and Improper Questions
During your testimony, our lawyers will object to any impertinent or improper questions. We will also assert your Fifth Amendment and attorney-client privileges as necessary. The purpose of these efforts is to ensure that you are not held accountable for any information that you are not legally required to provide.
Once you have testified before Congress, our lawyers and consultants will conduct a debrief and identify appropriate next steps. We will assess any ongoing risk of civil or criminal prosecution; and, if necessary, we will continue to provide representation in connection with the committee’s investigation (or any related federal inquiries).
Speak with a Congressional Testimony Lawyer at Oberheiden P.C.
If you have been subpoenaed to testify before Congress, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a complimentary consultation. Our federal lawyers and former federal agents will help you understand your situation and develop a strategic plan of action for moving forward. To get started today, call 888-680-1745 or tell us how we should contact you online now.