Ah, Memories... The Gravity of Such Crimes, Circa 1998
Today the committee holds an oversight hearing on the consequences of perjury and related crimes, like subornation of perjury, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, misprision and criminal contempt. All of these crimes thwart the proper workings of the justice system.
We hold this hearing because Rule 10 of the House of Representatives requires us to exercise continuing oversight over the -- quote -- "application, administration, execution and effectiveness" -- close quote -- of the laws under our jurisdiction.
Of particular relevance here, we have jurisdiction over the judicial system and the criminal code. Commentators of all types have fiercely debated the gravity of these crimes in recent months.
Otherwise responsible and thoughtful people have argued they are not so serious -- particularly when they occur in civil case or when they relate to hiding private sexual matters.
Indeed, some have even suggested that being a gentleman requires one to lie under oath about sex. By their very nature, these kinds of crimes attack the integrity of the judicial system. Indeed, that's why they are crimes.
To argue that in certain instances these crimes mean little is to say that our judicial system means little. I reject that notion.