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"When The President Does It": Why Congress Should Take The Lead In Investigations Of Executive Wrongdoing, Andrew B. Pardue Nov 2019

"When The President Does It": Why Congress Should Take The Lead In Investigations Of Executive Wrongdoing, Andrew B. Pardue

William & Mary Law Review

Asked by British journalist David Frost whether the President of the United States has the ability to authorize illegal acts when he believes such action is justified, Richard Nixon infamously replied: “Well, when the President does it, that means it is not illegal.” A majority of Americans disagreed with the former President’s assessment. But the question remains: If the President is theoretically capable of breaking the law while in office, what is the best way to determine whether a crime has actually been committed? This question has forced lawmakers to attempt to reconcile various investigatory mechanisms—all differing in ...


Of Prosecutors And Special Prosecutors: An Organizational Perspective, H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr., Daniel Richman Jan 2000

Of Prosecutors And Special Prosecutors: An Organizational Perspective, H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr., Daniel Richman

Faculty Scholarship

The Independent Counsel (IC) statute, designed to restore public trust in the impartial administration of criminal justice after Watergate, ultimately fueled rather than quieted the perception that partisan politics drives the investigation of high-ranking government officials. Congress, in an inspiring display of bipartisanship, bid it a muted farewell. The statute's fate was sealed by the enormous controversy surrounding the investigation conducted by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.

Although Start did not bring criminal charges against President Clinton, his office went pretty far in that direction, committing considerable enforcement resources to that end, bringing criminal charges against people believed to have ...


Of Prosecutors And Special Prosecutors: An Organizational Perspective, Geoffrey Moulton, Daniel C. Richman Jan 2000

Of Prosecutors And Special Prosecutors: An Organizational Perspective, Geoffrey Moulton, Daniel C. Richman

Faculty Scholarship

The Independent Counsel statute, designed to restore public trust in the impartial administration of criminal justice after Watergate, ultimately fueled rather than quieted the perception that partisan politics drives the investigation of high-ranking government officials. Following the enormous controversy surrounding the investigation conducted by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, Congress allowed the statute to sunset. This article assesses and seeks to refute both the standard objections to the now-expired statute and the arguments in favor of a new and improved version. It rejects as false the so-called “discretion dilemma” – the idea that we must choose between under zealous investigation by regular ...