[House Report 106-527] [From the U.S. Government Publishing Office] House Calendar No. 178 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 106th Congress Report 2d Session HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 106-527 _______________________________________________________________________ CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS AGAINST DR. MILES JONES __________ R E P O R T of the COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE ON THE CONGRESSIONAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST DR. MILES JONES FOR FAILURE TO APPEAR PURSUANT TO A DULY AUTHORIZED SUBPOENA
March 16, 2000.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed ------- U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 79-006 WASHINGTON : 2000 COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE TOM BLILEY, Virginia, Chairman W.J. ``BILLY'' TAUZIN, Louisiana JOHN D. DINGELL, Michigan MICHAEL G. OXLEY, Ohio HENRY A. WAXMAN, California MICHAEL BILIRAKIS, Florida EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts JOE BARTON, Texas RALPH M. HALL, Texas FRED UPTON, Michigan RICK BOUCHER, Virginia CLIFF STEARNS, Florida EDOLPHUS TOWNS, New York PAUL E. GILLMOR, Ohio FRANK PALLONE, Jr., New Jersey Vice Chairman SHERROD BROWN, Ohio JAMES C. GREENWOOD, Pennsylvania BART GORDON, Tennessee CHRISTOPHER COX, California PETER DEUTSCH, Florida NATHAN DEAL, Georgia BOBBY L. RUSH, Illinois STEVE LARGENT, Oklahoma ANNA G. ESHOO, California RICHARD BURR, North Carolina RON KLINK, Pennsylvania BRIAN P. BILBRAY, California BART STUPAK, Michigan ED WHITFIELD, Kentucky ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York GREG GANSKE, Iowa TOM SAWYER, Ohio CHARLIE NORWOOD, Georgia ALBERT R. WYNN, Maryland TOM A. COBURN, Oklahoma GENE GREEN, Texas RICK LAZIO, New York KAREN McCARTHY, Missouri BARBARA CUBIN, Wyoming TED STRICKLAND, Ohio JAMES E. ROGAN, California DIANA DeGETTE, Colorado JOHN SHIMKUS, Illinois THOMAS M. BARRETT, Wisconsin HEATHER WILSON, New Mexico BILL LUTHER, Minnesota JOHN B. SHADEGG, Arizona LOIS CAPPS, California CHARLES W. ``CHIP'' PICKERING, Mississippi VITO FOSSELLA, New York ROY BLUNT, Missouri ED BRYANT, Tennessee ROBERT L. EHRLICH, Jr., Maryland James E. Derderian, Chief of Staff James D. Barnette, General Counsel Reid P.F. Stuntz, Minority Staff Director and Chief Counsel (ii) House Calendar No. 178 106th Congress Report HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 2d Session 106-527 ======================================================================= CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS AGAINST DR. MILES JONES _______ March 16, 2000.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed _______ Mr. Bliley, from the Committee on Commerce, submitted the following R E P O R T CONTENTS Page Purpose and Summary.............................................. 1 Facts, Background and Chronology................................. 2 Authority and Legislative Purpose................................ 4 Conclusion....................................................... 4 Hearings......................................................... 4 Committee Consideration.......................................... 5 Committee Votes.................................................. 5 Committee Oversight Findings..................................... 8 Committee on Government Reform Oversight Findings................ 8 New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures; Committee Cost Estimate; Congressional Budget Office Estimate; and Federal Mandates Statement................ 8 Advisory Committee Statement..................................... 8 Constitutional Authority Statement............................... 8 Applicability to Legislative Branch.............................. 8 Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation................... 8 Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............ 8 purpose and summary The purpose of this report is to set forth the basis for finding Dr. Miles Jones in contempt of Congress for his failure to appear and testify before the Subcommittee on Health and Environment of the Committee on Commerce, as required by a properly issued and served subpoena ad testificandum. Upon adoption by the Commerce Committee and the House, this report and accompanying resolution would direct the Speaker to certify and refer the matter to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia for prosecution in accordance with the statutory provision for contempt of Congress, 2 U.S.C. Sec. 192. That offense carries a sentence of no less than one month and no more than one year in prison, plus fines up to $100,000. facts, background and chronology On November 9, 1999, the House of Representatives adopted a resolution introduced by Representative Tom Tancredo calling upon the Congress to conduct an investigation into whether human fetuses and fetal tissue are being bought and sold in violation of Federal law (H. Res. 350). The statute at issue is 42 U.S.C. Sec. 289g-2(a), which makes it a felony to knowingly acquire, receive or transfer human fetal tissue for valuable consideration. ``Valuable consideration'' is defined to exclude ``reasonable payments associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue.'' 42 U.S.C. Sec. 289g-2(d)(3). The resolution was based on information that came to the attention of Congress indicating that at least one commercial fetal tissue broker had developed a price list for the sale of various fetal body parts, with prices that did not appear on their face to be reflective of differing cost structures and in some cases seemed unreasonably high (attached as Exhibit A). This price list was for a company named Opening Lines, an entity that acquires human fetal tissue and then provides it to the research community. Opening Lines was founded and is operated by Dr. Miles Jones, who is a pathologist by training. Following the passage of the House resolution, the Committee on Commerce launched an investigation into whether Opening Lines or others involved in procuring, selling, or buying fetal tissue were operating in compliance with Federal law. The Committee also began reviewing related questions concerning whether other requirements of Federal law in this area were being observed, particularly, whether clinics and fetal tissue brokers were receiving informed consent from women before providing their fetuses for research purposes, and whether the timing, method, or procedures of abortions were being altered solely for the purpose of obtaining fetal tissue for research. While these latter restrictions apply only to Federally-funded transplantation research, the patient safety and ethical concerns that are the basis for these restrictions are relevant to all fetal tissue procurement. In order to investigate this matter fully, the Committee began making formal and informal inquiries to fetal tissue brokers to obtain information relating to their fee structures and other relevant practices. As part of this investigation, Chairman Bliley wrote to Dr. Miles Jones of Opening Lines on two separate occasions (January 31 and February 16, 2000; attached as exhibits B and C), requesting pursuant to Rules X and XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives that he respond to specific questions relating to Opening Lines' business practices. Dr. Jones failed to respond to either letter. Committee staff telephoned Dr. Jones well in excess of 25 times asking that he respond to the Chairman's questions. Dr. Jones did not respond to any of those Committee staff telephone calls. During the same time period, Chairman Bliley was interviewed by the ABC news program 20/20 about the Committee's investigation. During the course of this interview, Chairman Bliley was shown portions of an undercover videotape that 20/20 had taped in connection with its own investigation into the fetal tissue brokerage industry. Chairman Bliley was shown these segments in order to gain the Chairman's reaction to Dr. Jones' statements concerning his business practices. During this taped conversation, Dr. Jones asserted that during some weeks he could make up to $50,000 from buying and selling fetal tissue and fetal body parts. He clearly stated that ``market force'' determines the prices at which he sells fetal body parts ``it's what you can sell it for,'' he said, in response to a question about what price he charges for a fetal brain or kidney. He also asserted that the cost of procuring the fetus ``is the same, whether you get one kidney or you get two kidneys, a lung, a brain, a heart.'' The rest, he agreed, was ``just money in the bank.'' Dr. Jones also made statements during this undercover interview about the level of informed consent by women who donate fetal tissue. Given these facts, and Dr. Jones' failure to respond to voluntary Committee requests for information, Chairman Bliley (after consultation with the Minority) authorized and issued, pursuant to clause 2(m)(3)(A)(i) of rule XI of the rules of the House of Representatives and rule 19 of the Rules of the Committee on Commerce, a subpoena ad testificandum on February 29, 2000, commanding Dr. Jones' appearance and testimony at a hearing of the Subcommittee on Health and Environment on March 9, 2000, at 2:00 p.m. This subpoena was lawfully served upon Dr. Jones by the U.S. Marshals Service on March 1, 2000. A copy of the subpoena and its proof of service is attached to this report as Exhibit D. Subsequent to service, Committee staff made several additional attempts to contact Dr. Jones to inquire whether he would comply with the subpoena, to no avail. The Subcommittee convened pursuant to notice on March 9, 2000, to hold a hearing entitled ``Fetal Tissue: Is It Being Bought and Sold in Violation of Federal Law?'' The purpose of the hearing, as evidenced by the Committee hearing memorandum, was to ``hold a limited, investigatory hearing to consider evidence that fetal tissue may have been acquired and sold for valuable consideration in contravention of Federal law.'' Besides Dr. Jones, several other witnesses were invited and/or subpoenaed to attend this hearing to discuss their knowledge of or roles in the procuring or selling of fetal tissue. Following opening statements from the Members of the Subcommittee, Subcommittee Chairman Michael Bilirakis called the scheduled witnesses to the witness table, but Dr. Jones did not appear as commanded by his subpoena. At that point, full Committee Chairman Bliley offered a unanimous consent request that the hearing stand in recess, and that the Subcommittee waive all applicable notice requirements or other rules and immediately proceed into a business meeting for the purpose of considering a resolution finding Dr. Jones in contempt for his contumacious failure to comply with a subpoena ad testificandum. Without objection, and with a quorum present, Chairman Bilirakis recessed the hearing and convened a business meeting of the Subcommittee. Chairman Bliley then offered a resolution (attached as Exhibit E) finding that Dr. Jones was lawfully served with a validly issued subpoena commanding his appearance and testimony at the Subcommittee hearing on March 9, 2000, at 2:00 p.m.; finding Dr. Jones in contempt of Congress for his contumacious failure to appear as commanded by the subpoena ad testificandum; and directing that a report be prepared and forwarded to the full Committee for appropriate action. The resolution was approved by a record vote of 27 ayes and no nays. Authority and legislative purpose Clause 1 of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives grants the Committee on Commerce jurisdiction over public health and quarantine, biomedical research and development, health and health facilities, and interstate and foreign commerce generally. Clause 2 of rule X grants the Committee authority to review ``whether laws and programs addressing subjects within the jurisdiction of [the Committee] are being implemented and carried out with the intent of Congress.'' As such, it is within the oversight authority of the Committee to investigate whether fetal tissue is being bought or sold in interstate commerce in violation of Federal law, as well as the health and research-related questions surrounding that matter. The Committee also has a clear legislative purpose in conducting such oversight, given that it could lead the Committee to consider strengthening Federal requirements in this area or mandating additional oversight or enforcement mechanisms by the Executive Branch agencies with responsibilities in this area. Conclusion Chairman Bliley lawfully authorized and issued a subpoena ad testificandum upon Dr. Miles Jones, pursuant to House and Committee rules and in furtherance of a valid legislative purpose within the Committee's authority, responsibility and jurisdiction. De spite being served with this subpoena, Dr. Jones failed to appear at the scheduled hearing of the Subcommittee on Health and Environment, and his refusal to do so was both willful and contemptible. Accordingly, the Committee recommends to the House the following resolution: Resolved, That pursuant to sections 102 and 104 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (2 U.S.C. Sec. Sec. 192, 194), the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall certify the report adopted by the Committee on Commerce, detailing the failure of Dr. Miles Jones to appear and testify before the Subcommittee on Health and Environment on March 9, 2000, pursuant to a duly authorized and served subpoena ad testificandum, to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, to the end that Dr. Miles Jones be proceeded against in the manner and form provided by law. Hearings The Subcommittee on Health and Environment held a hearing on March 9, 2000, to receive testimony from Dr. Miles Jones, among other witnesses. committee consideration On March 9, 2000, the Subcommittee on Health and Environment met in open session to consider a resolution of contempt against Dr. Miles Jones for failure to appear and testify as commanded by subpoena, and directing the Subcommittee to report such finding to the full Committee for such action as the Committee deems appropriate. The resolution was approved, without amendment, by a record vote of 27 yeas and no nays. On March 15, 2000, the Committee on Commerce met in open markup session and agreed to a motion (attached as Exhibit F) by Mr. Bilirakis adopting this report, and directing the Chairman of the Committee to file this report with the House and to take such other actions as may be necessary to bring this report to the House for its consideration. The motion was agreed to by a record vote of 34 yeas and no nays. committee votes Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives requires the Committee to list the record votes on the motion to report legislation and amendments thereto. The following are the record votes on the motion to adopt this report, including the names of those Members voting for and against. Also included is the record vote of the Subcommittee on Health and Environment adopting the resolution of contempt against Dr. Miles Jones.
committee oversight findings Pursuant to clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the Committee held an oversight hearing and business meeting, and made findings that are reflected in this report. committee on government reform oversight findings Pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, no oversight findings have been submitted to the Committee by the Committee on Government Reform. new budget authority, entitlement authority, and tax expenditures; committee cost estimate; congressional budget office estimate; and federal mandates statement The Committee finds that clauses 3(c)(2) and (3) of rule XIII, section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, and section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act are inapplicable to this report. Therefore, the Committee did not request a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office and makes no findings as to the budgetary impact of this report. advisory committee statement The Committee finds that section 5(b) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act is inapplicable to this report. constitutional authority statement Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the Committee finds that the Constitutional authority for this report is provided in Article I, section 8, clause 3, which grants Congress the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several States, and with the Indian tribes. applicability to legislative branch The Committee finds that the report does not relate to the terms and conditions of employment or access to public services or accommodations within the meaning of section 102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act. section-by-section analysis of the legislation This report does not accompany legislation. changes in existing law made by the bill, as reported This report does not amend any existing Federal statute.