Posts tagged ‘Truth-In-Testimony rules’

Understanding Advanced Statements for Congressional Witnesses

Preparing to testify before Congress can require a significant amount of preparation on the part of the witness. When you are invited to testify before Congress, it is important to understand the advance preparations that must be made and the rules and requirements related to those preparations.

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Committee rules and guidelines often require witnesses to submit a certain number of advance copies of the witness’s written statement along with their biographical information. In some cases other written materials regarding the witness’s organization or the topic of the hearing may also be requested in advance. Generally, this information must be submitted by a certain deadline, ranging from one to three days before the hearing. The actual deadline can vary based on the committee as well as the nature of the hearing. Guidelines are often established by committees regarding the number of copies that must be submitted and in some instances an executive summary may also be requested.

Such requests will usually be outlined by the committee in Testifying Before Congress, by William LaForgethe letter of invitation issued to the witness. Written witness materials will then be included in the briefing folders or books that are prepared by committee staff specifically for the use of committee members before and during the actual hearing. Materials are often excerpted or summarized. Copies of witness materials are usually made available on the committee’s web site and provided to the media, congressional staff and the public during the hearing.

Prospective witnesses should consult with committee staff well in advance of the commencement of the hearing to be certain they are in compliance wit all committee rules, practices, policies and requirements. This is particularly important regarding the “Truth-In-Testimony” rules that apply, requiring specific information from witnesses. This can include not only advanced copies of testimony and biographical information, but also financial information regarding government contracts and grants as well.

To learn more about rules and practices regarding testifying before Congress, consider TheCapitol.Net’s course, Preparing and Delivering Congressional Testimony, which is also available as custom, on-site training.

Reference: Testifying Before Congress, by William LaForge, Section 2.7 Advanced Copies of Witness Statement


For more information about presentation and testifying training from TheCapitol.Net, see these resources:

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How Truth-in-Testimony Rules Apply to Prospective Congressional Witnesses

As a prospective public witness testifying before Congress, it is essential to have a solid understanding of the Truth-In-Testimony rules that witnesses are required to comply with and the consequences that can result for failing to comply.

Truth or Consequences
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To the greatest extent possible, witnesses who appear before each committee are required to submit written statements of their proposed testimony in advance. In addition, they are also required to limit their oral presentations to brief summaries. In the event a witness will appear before a committee in a nongovernmental capacity, a written statement of proposed testimony should include a curriculum vitae for the witness as well as a disclosure regarding the amount and the source of any Federal grants or contracts that have been received during that current fiscal year or either of the two prior fiscal years. This applies not only to the witness, but also to any organization represented by the witness.

The purpose of this rule is to provide committee members as well as the public and the media a more detailed context in which the testimony of the witness can be considered regarding their experience, education and the extent to which they or their organization have benefited from Federal contracts and grants.

Testifying Before Congress, by William LaForgeThe intention of this rule is not to require witnesses to disclose the amounts of Federal entitlements they might have received from sources such as Social Security, Medicare or income support payments. Farmers are also not required to disclose amounts they might have received regarding commodity or crop price support payments. Failure to fully comply with this requirement would not result in a point of order against the witness testifying. With that said, such failure to comply could result in an objection that could potentially include the testimony of the witness in the record of the hearing. This objection would take the place of a traditional disclosure.

The information provided by the witness to the committee prior to the hearing can be helpful to the committee during the preparation stage. A wealth of information is often included in a briefing book prepared by the committee staff. This information can include not only Truth-in-Testimony disclosures, but also other information such as witness background biographical information.

To learn more about preparing to testify before Congress, you might consider attending our workshop Preparing and Delivering Congressional Testimony, also available for custom, on-site training.

Reference: Testifying Before Congress, by William LaForge, Section 2.7 Special Rules Regarding Truth in Testimony


For more information about presentation and testifying training from TheCapitol.Net, see these resources:

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