“When it comes to oversight investigation the principal of legitimate legislative purpose is supreme,” said Jason Foster, the former chief investigative counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee and now head of the Empower Oversight whistleblower center. “You heard this phrase during the Jan. 6 probe. You heard Liz Cheney saying it all the time: Our legislative purpose is this or that because Congress can investigate anything if it has a legitimate legislative purpose.”
That purpose can be to inform future legislation or to oversee how federal money has been spent.
Foster and others said the power of the purse argument was so powerful that the U.S. Supreme Court even upheld late Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel's right to publish highly classified portions of the Pentagon Papers laying out U.S. military failures in the Vietnam War as part of his work on infrastructure projects and to keep his legislative aides from having to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the leak.
Court records show Gravel argued he could put the secret documents into the record as chairman of a Senate subcommittee on public works because “the availability of funds for the construction and improvement of public buildings and grounds has been affected by the necessary costs of the war in Vietnam, and that therefore the development and conduct of the war is properly within the concern of his subcommittee.”
A federal judge originally disagreed, but the Supreme Court concluded in Gravel vs. United States that a member of Congress had a right under the Constitution's Speech and Debate clause to inform his constituents about fiscal and security policy unimpeded by the executive branch.
“The dialogue between Congress and people has been recognized, from the days of our founding, as one of the necessary elements of a representative system,” the justices' majority opinion declared. “We should not retreat from that view merely because, in the course of that dialogue, information may be revealed that is embarrassing to the other branches of government or violates their notions of necessary secrecy.”
Mike Davis, head of the Article III Project and a former Senate Judiciary Committee counsel who vetted Supreme Court and federal judiciary nominees, said he believes Jordan should not be deterred by Bragg's lawsuit one bit and should expand the probe to look at the New York prosecutor's frequent decisions to downgrade felony violent crimes to misdemeanors while pursuing 34 felony charges against Trump.
“Bragg is endangering New Yorkers by diverting federal funds from real crimes — like carjackings, robberies, assaults, rapes, and murders — to interfere in a presidential election,” Davis said. “Congress has a duty, under Section 5 of the 14th Amendment and its oversight of the federal purse, to investigate.”
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) told the “Just the News, No Noise” television show Tuesday night he believes Jordan will prevail in court and that Bragg's suit must be viewed in the larger picture of weaponizing law enforcement from the federal level on down.
“It's a travesty what this administration has done to weaponize every agency of government,” Norman said. “And Alvin Bragged just represents that. He's made a lifetime goal of going after President Trump