A lawyer for Roger Clemens said in court today that part of Clemens’ legal strategy would be to argue that the hearing that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held three years ago — the hearing in which he allegedly perjured himself — had nothing to do with Congress’ responsibility for legislation and was therefore invalid.
Just to review, Clemens willingly agreed to testify before Congress. He wasn’t subpoenaed. At the time he and his legal team actually offered a bunch of “we’re happy for the chance to do this” bluster. One would think that if he believed Congress’ authority wasn’t sufficient to hold such a hearing that he may have mentioned it three years ago.
That aside, Congress’ oversight and investigation powers are ridiculously broad. While not specifically enumerated in the Constitution, tradition and legal precedent has upheld Congress’ right to hold hearings on just about anything you can imagine, as long as the subject is something “on which legislation could be had or would be materially aided by the information which the investigation was calculated to elicit” or in an area that the executive branch regulates somehow. Given that there are tons of federal drug laws and entire federal agencies which deal with drugs and other controlled substances, a steroids investigation — while maybe not something you’d be a fan of — is safely within Congressional power.
So, hey, good luck with that Roger. Just don’t bank on any success there, OK?