Today, Congressmen Charlie Dent (PA-15) and Peter Welch (VT-AL) introduced the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, bipartisan legislation that protects the integrity of independent investigations by ensuring judicial review if a special counsel is removed.
"Independent investigations must be given the resources needed to carry out their investigations and the assurance that they have the authority and public confidence to see them through to conclusion," Dent said. "Jeopardizing the trust in these counsels paralyzes our political processes and will surely lead to devastating consequences for our established system of checks and balances."
"Our country was founded on the principle that no person is above the law," Welch said. "Special prosecutors like Robert Mueller play an important role in upholding this foundational building block of the American democracy. Our legislation will ensure that Special Counsel Mueller will be able to do his job unfettered by political influence or threats to his authority."
The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, or H.R. 5505, serves as a House companion bill to a similar Senate proposal led by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Cory Booker (D-NJ). In addition to protecting appointed special counsels, H.R. 5505 also:
Establishes parameters for removal, including misconduct, dereliction of duty, and conflict of interest;
Requires a written notice explaining the reason(s) for removal as well as the effective date of removal;
Allows challenges to the removal to be filed and reviewed by a court of three judges;
Retroactively applies to any special counsel appointed on or after January 1, 2017
"The American government was designed to engender temperance and withstand the headwinds of caprice," Dent added. "I'm proud to lead this bipartisan effort in the House of Representatives that will ensure the Special Counsel can complete his work and that faith in our most fundamental democratic processes is not further eroded."