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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: April 22, 2015 01:00 PM
From: Representative Mike Vereb
To: All House members
Subject: LEGISLATION - Reestablishment of Pennsylvania's Independent Counsel Statute
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to re-enact Pennsylvania’s independent counsel statute, which expired in 2003. The Independent Counsel Authorization Act provided a transparent process to investigate the Attorney General and other public officials in the event of alleged wrongdoing. The act spelled out the authority of the independent counsel and provided a framework, with legislative oversight, for investigations.

By proposing this legislation, I am answering the call of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and numerous others who have called for legislative action in response to recent events in Pennsylvania. As I am sure you are aware, a common pleas judge who was overseeing grand jury proceedings recently appointed an independent prosecutor to investigate and present findings relating to the Attorney General’s alleged violation of grand jury secrecy rules. The Attorney General argued that the judge had exceeded his authority in appointing the independent counsel, an argument based at least partly on the fact that the Independent Counsel Authorization Act had lapsed. While the Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s action in appointing independent counsel, the Chief Justice made a point of expressing a preference for a statutory structure which had been in place to govern such situations.

Sadly, the need for clear processes for the investigation of breaches of the public trust has been all too manifest in recent months. Please join me in working to help restore the public trust by co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1118