When directed to do so pursuant to section 288b(b) of this title, the Counsel shall bring a civil action under any statute conferring jurisdiction on any court of the United States (including section 1365 of title 28), to enforce, to secure a declaratory judgment concerning the validity of, or to prevent a threatened failure or refusal to comply with, any subpena or order issued by the Senate or a committee or a subcommittee of the Senate authorized to issue a subpena or order.
Any directive to the Counsel to bring a civil action pursuant to subsection (a) of this section in the name of a committee or subcommittee of the Senate shall, for such committee or subcommittee, constitute authorization to bring such action within the meaning of any statute conferring jurisdiction on any court of the United States.
It shall not be in order in the Senate to consider a resolution to direct the Counsel to bring a civil action pursuant to subsection (a) of this section in the name of a committee or subcommittee unless—
(1) such resolution is reported by a majority of the members voting, a majority being present, of such committee or committee of which such subcommittee is a subcommittee, and
(2) the report filed by such committee or committee of which such subcommittee is a subcommittee contains a statement of—
(A) the procedure followed in issuing such subpena;
(B) the extent to which the party subpenaed has complied with such subpena;
(C) any objections or privileges raised by the subpenaed party; and
(D) the comparative effectiveness of bringing a civil action under this section, certification of a criminal action for contempt of Congress, and initiating a contempt proceeding before the Senate.
The provisions of subsection (c) of this section are enacted—
(1) as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate, and, as such, they shall be considered as part of the rules of the Senate, and such rules shall supersede any other rule of the Senate only to the extent that rule is inconsistent therewith; and
(2) with full recognition of the constitutional right of the Senate to change such rules (so far as relating to the procedure in the Senate) at any time, in the same manner, and to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of the Senate.
A report filed pursuant to subsection (c)(2) of this section shall not be receivable in any court of law to the extent such report is in compliance with such subsection.
Nothing in this section shall limit the discretion of—
(1) the President pro tempore of the Senate in certifying to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia any matter pursuant to section 194 of this title; or
(2) the Senate to hold any individual or entity in contempt of the Senate.
(Pub. L. 95–521, title VII, §705, Oct. 26, 1978, 92 Stat. 1878; Pub. L. 99–336, §6(a)(2), June 19, 1986, 100 Stat. 639.)
Last modified: October 26, 2015