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Angelle Smith Baugh

Angelle Smith Baugh is of counsel in the firm’s Election and Political Law and White Collar Litigation practice groups. She has significant experience in broad-based crisis management, advising clients on legal and political matters presenting complex risks.

Angelle's practice focuses on defending companies and individuals in high-profile congressional investigations, as well as other criminal, civil, and internal investigations. She represents clients before House and Senate Committees, as well as in criminal and civil government investigations before the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice, Federal Election Commission, and the Office of Congressional Ethics.

She assists companies and executives responding to formal and informal inquiries from Congress and executive branch agencies for documents, information, and testimony. She has experience preparing CEOs and other senior executives to testify before challenging congressional oversight hearings.

Angelle also has experience and expertise navigating federal and state ethics laws, and provides ongoing political law advice to companies, trade associations, PACs, and individuals.

Late last week, the Committee on Oversight and Accountability published the House of Representative’s “Authorization and Oversight Plans.” The massive 241-page report is required by the House rules, and the Oversight Committee’s report collects the individual oversight plans that each standing committee of the House is required to create at the start of a new Congress. The report is the most comprehensive collection of the committees’ plans for investigations in the coming Congress.

This year’s report reflects a significant shift in priorities, reflecting the change in control of the House to the Republicans. For example, the Oversight Plan speaks to expected oversight of the Administration’s alleged “collusion” with “Big Tech,” the “politicization” of the federal government, China’s interactions with the American economy and national security, and the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing prevention efforts. A repeated priority throughout the plans is seeking out and minimizing instances of “waste, fraud, and abuse” in government programs, which includes scrutinizing the recipients and use of government funds.

The plans of the four most active oversight committees—Oversight and Accountability, Judiciary, Energy and Commerce, and Financial Services—stand out in particular for their focus on the private sector and the way companies interact with the federal government. Other committees, including the Foreign Affairs Committee, have outlined ambitious oversight agendas as well. Of note, the Foreign Affairs Committee has added a Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability “to undertake more complex oversight and investigative activities,” including on issues related to China, the conflict in Ukraine, the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the origins of the pandemic. The Oversight Plan does not include the oversight objectives of the newly created House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, which we explored in a separate alert.

The following summarizes key portions of the Oversight Plan with implications for the private sector and other individuals and entities that routinely interface with government:Continue Reading Newly Published “Oversight Plan” Outlines the House’s Investigative Priorities

The House of Representatives formally established the new “Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party,” with a bipartisan vote of 365-65. The Select Committee, to be chaired by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), a former military intelligence officer who also serves on the House Intelligence Committee, has been

Congressional investigations thrive in divided government.  With a constrained ability to advance policy through legislation, Members are more likely to turn to investigations as a means of making headlines and affecting private sector practices. 

The Democratic Senate majority and the Republican House majority give the respective majorities the ability to control the agenda of each chamber, and likely virtually unfettered subpoena power.  Democrats will preside over all Senate committees and have control of the Senate agenda.  Likewise, Republicans will preside over all House committees and have control of the House agenda.  Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the Republican Conference nominee for Speaker of the House, recently released a sweeping Oversight plan for “Oversight in the 118th Congress,” which is discussed below.

Congressional investigations have been on the rise generally in the past several years, and all signs indicate that investigations in the 118th Congress will be prolific and particularly challenging, especially for the companies, industries, and individuals that are a central focus of GOP critiques.  As part of these investigations, incoming House Republican committee chairs will possess virtually unchecked power to issue subpoenas, demand documents, call hearings, and compel witnesses to testify.

Congressional investigators have a large toolkit.  There are a number of ways Congress can exert pressure on companies and individuals, and this has expanded in recent years.  In the new Congress, recent developments in congressional investigations will be precedent-setting for newly empowered House GOP committees, who likely will look to the tactics and techniques that the current Democratic-led committees employed in the past few years for creative investigative ideas.  For example, many Americans watched the January 6th Select Committee hearings and that Committee’s effective use of videotaped deposition testimony.  In the future, we anticipate that more committees will use videotaped depositions, both to put additional pressure on witnesses and to generate additional headlines. Continue Reading Congressional Investigations in the 118th Congress

Back to Square One in the Courts

Historically, investigators on Capitol Hill have relied on civil enforcement proceedings to enforce their subpoenas and compel the production of sought-after documents or testimony.  As we detailed in November, however, the D.C. Circuit cast doubt on the ability of investigators in the House to pursue this common avenue for enforcing its subpoenas.
Continue Reading Recent Developments Shed Further Light on Congressional Subpoena Authority

Financial institutions are consistently targets of congressional oversight interest. In the last Congress, House and Senate committees held hearings with, demanded documents from, requested interviews with, and hosted briefings from a number of bank and non-bank financial institutions regarding a variety of issues. In a recent client alert, we looked at recent trends in

In recent months, we have highlighted key developments on Capitol Hill and discussed the implications of the change in Administration on the pace and focus of congressional investigations.  With a Democratic majority now in both the House and the Senate, investigations targeting the private sector are primed to take center stage in the new Congress.

Today Covington released an updated version of its manual for Chiefs of Staff to Members of Congress concerning best practices for responding to government investigations of Members and their staff.  Titled “A How-To Guide for Chiefs of Staff,” the manual describes how government investigations of Members and staff unfold and the steps that Chiefs of

In a unanimous ruling, the D.C. Circuit shed new light this week on the applicability of key federal criminal statutes on proceedings before the Office of Congressional Ethics (“OCE”).  While largely removing the prospect of criminal obstruction liability for parties responding to inquiries from OCE, the court’s opinion is another reminder of the potentially

Congressional leaders are actively exploring ways to continue the work of Congress as the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold.  Currently, Congress is not able to have live, in-person hearings, which are the primary tool for conducting oversight of both the private sector and the executive branch.  With existing oversight investigations still underway—and the recent establishment