Congressman Turner released the following statement after introducing H.R. 5271, the Independent Counsel Reauthorization Act of 2016, which would reauthorize the independent counsel statute to reinstate the role of Congress in requesting independent investigations of the Administration.
“Whether it is the IRS targeting taxpayers for their political beliefs, or Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server, the Administration has refused to appoint non-partisan, independent investigators to lead these efforts. Congress must take action to ensure that these investigations are impartial, professional, and free of political motivation.
“This bill would reauthorize the independent counsel statute to reinstate the role of Congress in requesting independent investigations of the Administration. The House continues to conduct hearings and hold government official accountable to the taxpayers, and the Administration should do the same.”
The role of Congress in requesting and appointing independent counsels originated with passage of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 in an effort to curb abuse of power by the President and executive branch officials.
Investigations carried out by independent counsels include:
- Arthur Christy - relating to allegations of illegal drug use by President Jimmy Carter's Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan, 1978
- Leon Silverman - relating to allegations that Secretary of Labor Labor Raymond Donovan had connections to organized crime, 1981–84
- Lawrence E. Walsh - relating to the Iran-Contra affair, 1986–93
- Kenneth Starr and Robert Ray - relating to the suicide of Vince Foster, the Whitewater scandal, and the Lewinsky scandal, 1994-2001
The independent counsel statute expired June 30th, 1999.