In the name of streamling procedures, the House on Tuesday, quietly passed a rules change that will halt the past practice of listing in the Congressional Record all subpoenas directed at House records.
Under the old rules. the House had to vote its approval before a subpoenaed House document such as payroll records could be delivered in a grand jury investigation or court case.
The result was that each subpoena was publicly listed in the record and often gave the first indication that a member was under investigation. There were more than 22 subpoenas voted on last year by the House though not all were directed at members, an aide to the House Clerk said yesterday.
Tuesday's rules change was made in the form of a privileged resolution and passed without explanation or debate.
It provides standing authorization for members to respond to subpoenas, for documents, without specific vote of the House. Thus they will not be listed in the Record.
The new rule permits documents to be copied and delivered to a court after the Speaker has been notified of a judicial determination of their "materiality and relevancy . . . "
The rule prohibits any executive transcripts or documents filed in closed committee sessions to be provided to courts under any circumstances.
According to a House leadership aide, the rules changes were made because the old system had proved "administratively cumbersome" and had nothing to do with keeping secret the names of members under investigation.