(1) The constitutional privilege of members of Congress (Article. I. Section. 6.) to make verbal statements on the floor and in committee for which they cannot be sued or arrested for slander or libel. Also, freedom from arrest while traveling to or from sessions of Congress or on official business. Members in this status may be arrested only for treason, felonies or a breach of the peace, as defined by congressional manuals.
(2) In the case of a witness before a committee, a grant of protection from prosecution based on that person’s testimony to the committee.
Also see Congressional Ethics; Contempt of Congress; Oversight; § 8.70, Congress and the Executive: Oversight and Investigation, § 8.75, Committee Investigations and Witness Protections, in Congressional Deskbook; Chapter 8. E. Congressional Oversight in Congressional Procedure.
What is congressional immunity?
- “Federalism and the Constitution: Limits on Congressional Power,” CRS Report RL30315 (31-page PDF)
- “Qualified Immunity for a Police Shooting,” CRS Legal Sidebar 2017 (3-page PDF)
- “Ashcroft v. al-Kidd: Official Immunity and Material Witnesses Before the Supreme Court,” CRS Report R41904 (21-page PDF)
- “Retroactive Immunity Provided by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008,” CRS Report RL34600 (18-page PDF)
- “Diplomatic Immunity: History and Overview,” CRS Report RS21672 (7-page PDF)
- “It Belongs in a Museum: Sovereign Immunity Shields Iranian Antiquities Even When It Does Not Protect Iran,” CRS Legal Sidebar LSB10104 (4-page PDF)
- “Speech or Debate Clause Constitutional Immunity: An Overview,” CRS Report RL30843 (12-page PDF)
- “Speech or Debate Clause Protections for Informal Member Oversight and Investigations,” CRS Legal Sidebar LSB10857 (11-page PDF)
- “Congressional Oversight Manual,” CRS Report RL30240 (140-page PDF)
- “Expulsion of Members of Congress: Legal Authority and Historical Practice,” CRS Report R45078 (28-page PDF)
- “Understanding the Speech or Debate Clause,” CRS Report R45043 (36-page PDF)
- “Congress’s Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure,” CRS Report RL34097 (100-page PDF)
- “Expulsion, Censure, Reprimand, and Fine: Legislative Discipline in the House of Representatives,” CRS Report RL31382 (30-page PDF)
- “Enforcement of Congressional Rules of Conduct: A Historical Overview,” CRS Report RL30764 (23-page PDF)
- “The Federal Grand Jury,” CRS Report 95-1135 (51-page PDF)
- “A Survey of House and Senate Committee Rules on Subpoenas,” CRS Report R44247 (31-page PDF)
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