In Wake of Speaker Boehner’s Resignation, Dems Press Chaffetz to Subpoena Testimony of David Daleiden at Planned Parenthood Hearing

Sep 25, 2015
Press Release

In Wake of Speaker Boehner’s Resignation, Dems Press Chaffetz to Subpoena Testimony of David Daleiden at Planned Parenthood Hearing


Washington, D.C. (Sept. 25, 2015)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Chairman Jason Chaffetz requesting that the Committee issue a subpoena for testimony at next Tuesday’s hearing from David Daleiden, who heads the organization that deceptively edited secretly-recorded videos in a failed attempt to entrap Planned Parenthood.

This past Monday, all 18 Democratic Members of the Oversight Committee warned that the relentless campaign by the conservative House Freedom Caucus to attack Planned Parenthood was in fact “part of a broader power struggle to unseat House Speaker John Boehner, led by an extreme wing of the Republican Party that is using this issue to force a government shutdown unless the Speaker bows to their demands.”  Given Speaker Boehner’s announcement today that he will resign his Speakership, these warnings proved prescient.  

The Democrats requested that, if Chaffetz chose to proceed with this hearing, he also invite Daleiden to appear at Tuesday’s hearing voluntarily.  Chaffetz did not respond to this letter.  Instead, questions have been raised about whether Chaffetz is declining to invite Daleiden because he may invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions about his potentially illegal activities.

In Cummings’ letter today requesting a subpoena for Daleiden’s testimony, he wrote, “It is unclear why the Committee would take a different approach in this case than Republicans have taken in previous cases.  The Republican position on this question has been that witnesses must be compelled by subpoena to appear—in person—in order to assert their Fifth Amendment rights on the record.”

“This was the position taken by Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy when he subpoenaed an IT employee during his investigation of Secretary Clinton’s email server, and it was the position of former Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa during his investigation of former IRS employee Lois Lerner,” Cummings wrote.

“The contrast between the policy used by House Republicans in these scenarios is striking,” Cummings wrote. “When attempting to target Secretary Clinton for the Benghazi attacks or President Obama for the IRS scandal, witnesses are hauled before Congress and forced to assert their Fifth Amendment rights in person, sometimes more than once.  Here, there appears to be a different standard.  Republicans have been letting Mr. Daleiden off the hook even though his group’s potentially illegal actions form the very foundation of the congressional investigation itself.”

Daleiden and his organization reportedly engaged in a host of potentially illegal activities, including filing false documents with government agencies, falsely impersonating a legitimate business concern, soliciting charitable contributions under false pretenses, and secretly recording Planned Parenthood officials without their consent. 

In both previous cases, Democrats objected to forcing witnesses to appear in person after their attorneys informed Congress their clients would take the Fifth, but in this case Daleiden’s intentions are unclear.  Just last week, Daleiden indicated in an interview that “he is likely to comply with an expected invitation to testify before Congress, even though he is pleading the Fifth in a lawsuit brought by one of the organizations that he videotaped without their knowledge.”

Click here to read a copy of the letter. 

114th Congress