Two of the sharpest-toothed hunters among House Democrats are also among the longest-serving: Reps. John Dingell (D-MI) and John Conyers (D-MI). Combined the two men have over 95 years of service in Congress, yet their instincts for oversight remain sharp.
Player: Rep. John Dingell (D-MI)
Position: Chair, House Energy & Commerce Committee
"You're the biggest pain in the ass on Capitol Hill," President Bush reportedly told Dingell in 2005 as the two fought over health care legislation. It's a reputation the senior lawmaker does little to diminish. He's claimed his share of scalps from the executive branch, including at least one jailing mixed in with the forced resignations. Rove pal Ken Tomlinson quit the Corporation for Public Broadcasting board under Dingell's pressure. (Tomlinson couldn't stay out of trouble, however.)
Since it became clear he would retake his committee's chairmanship, Dingell has held his list of executive-branch targets close to the vest. Natural targets would include the administration's trade policies, and its ties to Big Oil. He's made no secret of his appetite for investigating the private sector. So far, he's tipped his hand enough to show plans to investigate Medicare and Medicaid fraud involving big pharmaceutical companies, as well as the Food and Drug Administration and the dietary supplement industry.
Player: Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)
Position: Chair, House Judiciary Committee
Convers, in his fifth decade on Capitol Hill, has emerged as one of the Democrats' most vocal critics of the White House. After holding hearings on the topic in 2005, he's held tenaciously to questions from the Downing Street Memo that were never answered to his satisfaction. The memo is a British government document from 2002 which alleged the Bush White House was "fixing" the intelligence about Iraq to make a case for war.
Last August, Conyers' staff produced a report detailing at least 26 violations of law on the part of the Bush administration, mostly involving pre-war intelligence, the NSA domestic spying program, and the CIA's black sites operations. Despite producing a list of potential criminal charges against President Bush, Conyers has repeatedly denied allegations that he seeks to impeach the president. He has called for "Watergate-style hearings" to learn the details of many of the administration's questionable programs.