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Congressional Investigations

Frequent change in party control of both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives means one thing for U.S. business: a significant increase in congressional oversight and investigations that will examine business practices, the relationships between business and the current administration, and whether federal regulators have been sufficiently vigilant in their activities.

Being focused on this threat is paramount for any business or industry that finds itself within the potential scope of a congressional investigation. It may signify a highly public examination of a company or an industry in a forum where there are few rules and companies have few rights. The result could well be referral to federal, state or local prosecutors or regulators for enforcement or regulatory action. In addition, trial lawyers are often all too willing to use the fruits of those efforts in civil litigation. Cautious and savvy businesspeople who already know that their industry is in the cross-hairs take measures to prepare for the potential onslaught.

It is important to understand that congressional hearings are unique and very different from ordinary litigation: there is no judge overseeing the proceedings, almost everything is public, and all of it takes place at the center of the U.S. government. Representing companies, industries and individuals in the face of congressional oversight and investigations requires a marriage of high-quality legal and political skills. Working with our White Collar Investigations and Enforcement and Government Affairs Groups, our congressional investigations lawyers can help public and privately held companies navigate and resolve allegations against individuals and corporations.

The accomplished professionals at Bingham have a deep and varied background that brings to bear critical litigation, political and communications skills. We provide background counsel and direct representation. With the resources of an international law firm, Bingham also provides important ancillary legal services such as document review and production under the tight deadlines often imposed by congressional committees.

Our professionals include nationally recognized authorities on congressional investigations such as assistant chief counsel of the Senate Watergate Committee Jim Hamilton,who has written widely in the area, and three former chief counsels of Senate subcommittees: Barry DirenfeldTim Shea and Gary Slaiman. The Bingham team understands the interplay between Congress, the media and Wall Street, and we work routinely with companies to prepare for and navigate the many challenges of congressional hearings and investigations.

To the White Collar Investigations and Enforcement.


Bingham lawyers have represented clients involved in high-profile congressional oversight hearings and investigations before the Senate Judiciary Committee; the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, among others. Representative matters include:

  • Represented the former CFO of MF Global, Inc. in ongoing investigations by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Southern District of New York and the Northern District of Illinois, SEC, CFTC, and multiple congressional committees. This matter, involving the alleged misuse of approximately $1.6 billion in customer segregated funds, has been one of the United States’ highest profile matters in 2012.
  • Representing three of the country’s largest financial institutions and current and former executives from a major Wall Street investment bank and another of the country’s largest financial institutions in investigations by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to determine “the causes, domestic and global, of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States.”
  • Represented many high-ranking Enron executives and other current and former Enron employees in connection with the multiple prosecutions and investigations related to that company’s downfall. We successfully represented numerous clients in investigations conducted by the DOJ, SEC, New York County District Attorney, CFTC, FERC, IRS, Department of Labor, Enron Bankruptcy Examiner, Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Enron Corp., and nearly a dozen different congressional committees involving issues ranging from broad allegations of accounting fraud and insider trading to technical allegations relating to commodities trading and ERISA. We successfully navigated these aggressive, high-profile investigations on behalf of the highest-ranking Enron executive not to be charged.
  • Representing a company that audited a plant where salmonella-tainted peanut butter had been produced in an investigation by a congressional subcommittee that received significant media attention. The group defended the client’s conduct and ensured that none of the client’s officers were called to testify at a highly-charged public hearing.
  • Represented Energy Investors Funds in connection with Congressional Labor and Employment Committee's investigation of the Kleen Energy plant explosion in Middletown Connecticut in which there were multiple worker fatalities.
  • Represented significant witness in the House Martha Stewart insider trading ImClone Erbitux investigation.
  • Representing a major automobile manufacturer in connection with House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrrell K. Issa’s investigation into White House involvement in the development of fuel economy standards.
  • Represented the Major League Baseball Players Association on multiple congressional investigations into the use of performance enhancing substances.
  • Representing a high-ranking executive of a major financial institution in connection with an investigation by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations into the multi-billion dollar losses incurred as a result of derivative transactions by the so-called London Whale.
  • Represented Lehman Brothers in an extensive investigation by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations into the alleged use of stock lending and equity swap transactions by offshore counterparties to avoid United States dividend withholding taxes.
  • Advised the Louisiana AG on matters related to the congressional investigation of the response to Hurricane Katrina.
  • Represented several clients in the Senate investigation of the death of White House Deputy Counsel Vince Foster.

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