Prosecutors subpoenaed Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) for 11 years-worth of records as part of the ongoing Abramoff investigation, the AP reports
Prosecutors recently demanded documents from Doolittle and five staffers, the congressman said. The subpoenas seek "virtually every record including legislative records" for the past 11 years, Doolittle's attorney David Barger said in a news release issued Thursday by the congressman's office.
"These efforts raise serious constitutional issues going to the very core of our separation of powers created by the Founding Fathers," Barger said.
The Constitution prohibits the executive branch from using its law enforcement powers to interfere with legislative business. Barger said he and Doolittle would "be vigilant" to ensure Congress' independence is "vigorously protected." Any court challenge would go before a federal judge, but the documents would be sealed.
The standoff could lead to a court battle like the William Jefferson (R-LA) case over the speech and debate clause. When a federal court called the FBI's decision to take legislative documents out of Jefferson's office unconstitutional, watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Melanie Sloan said it was a great day for corrupt lawmakers