Energy issues dominate the hearing schedule in Congress this week.

A House and Senate conference committee on comprehensive energy legislation is scheduled to meet formally for the first time on Thursday. Members will be working out the differences between their two versions of legislation that could be the first update to federal energy policy since 2007. The Senate passed its bill with overwhelming bipartisan support in April, while the House narrowly passed its own version of energy modernization legislation on a party-line vote, meaning there will be significant issues for the conference committee to work through this fall.

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to review the Federal Power Act, particularly the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and electricity markets over the past 20 years.

There are two House Foreign Affairs hearings scheduled on Thursday afternoon that are focused on energy markets. The Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa will hold a joint hearing with the Energy Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology to discuss energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific is also scheduled to meet to discuss opportunities to advance U.S. energy policy in Asia, particularly the region’s dependence on liquefied natural gas from the United States and the economic and security interests involved.

On Friday morning, the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets will hold an oversight hearing on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to the devastating flooding that occurred in Louisiana in August. The agency has approved more than $100 million in disaster relief grants for flood victims, but Congress may be asked to provide additional emergency funds to assist with the recovery effort.

While not Energy related per se., on Thursday, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will meet to discuss the Obama administration’s $400 million cash payment of U.S. taxpayer funds to Iran that has been linked to the release of several U.S. hostages. The payout has come under intense scrutiny, particularly from congressional Republicans. The hearing will focus on the $400 million cash payment and the implications on U.S. efforts to inhibit terrorism financing.

The Iran payout is also the subject of a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. The Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice is scheduled to hold an oversight hearing on the lack of transparency on money from the Judgment Fund, a permanent Treasury Department account used to pay judgments and claims against the United States.

What Is the Process of an Internal Investigation?

Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC pic
Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC
Image: dmgs.com

Attorney Martin Milita serves as senior director at Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC, in Trenton, New Jersey. A member of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association, Martin Milita draws on his skills and experience in business law to walk companies through the process of conducting an internal investigation.

A number of events can trigger an internal investigation within a company, including an allegation or suggestion of wrongdoing or misconduct. The allegation or suggestion may come from an outside source, such as a regulatory agency, or an internal party, such as an employee or shareholder.

Once a company deems an internal investigation necessary, the company should first locate and review any documents related to the inquiry. Then, it should conduct interviews with anyone who may be involved or have knowledge relevant to the investigation. Finally, the company should compile all findings and report to company leaders and to those responsible for triggering the investigation.

The process of an internal investigation can be complicated and time consuming, but companies can save time and stress by employing the services of an attorney experienced in business law.

Tips for Effective Internal Corporate Investigations

Martin Milita works as senior director of Duane Morris Government Strategies LLC in Trenton, New Jersey. Before joining the firm, he co-founded and served as managing partner of Holman Public Affairs, LLC. At Holman, Martin Milita frequently counseled companies during internal corporate investigations.

Internal corporate investigations are a common practice among businesses. These investigations help companies address issues ranging from small, contained problems with staff to large costly violations deriving from criminal activity. As part of the investigation process, companies work toward identifying facts that provide a foundation to move forward, mitigating the effects of the offending act, maintaining compliance, and creating transparency that deters future incidents.

To achieve these objectives, businesses should implement best practices for conducting witness interviews. Witnesses provide valuable information for resolving cases. Covert investigatory practices may allow businesses to recover more facts about a situation. Covert investigations involve “drop-in” interviews that provide witnesses little to no time to rehearse answers, reducing practiced or fabricated responses that can diminish an investigator’s ability to uncover the truth.

Furthermore, an effective internal corporate investigation is achieved by anticipating witness concerns. Preparing a response in advance to questions of consequences, such as employment status following the investigation and confidentiality, ensures that no information is misrepresented by the counsel.