A committee is a group of people who are part of an organization or larger body that examines specific matters or issues in more depth than would be possible if the larger assembly were to look at them at one time. The body that forms the committee may also give it authority to make decisions or provide recommendations on the matter at hand. A committee may be temporary or permanent, depending on the type of body and its needs.
In general, the members of a committee are elected to the position. In addition, some committees may have a chairman or other person in charge of their activities. The person in charge of a committee will set its agenda and determine which matters are to be looked at. A person who is a member of a committee can be expected to attend meetings on a regular basis and to keep up with any developments in the matter at hand.
The work of a committee can be documented in the form of minutes or other records of the discussions and conclusions reached at meetings. This is particularly important if the committee is a public one that must follow open meeting laws. In addition, some organizations require that a committee that is a part of them have a person assigned to take minutes of its meetings.
After a committee has completed its investigation into a particular matter, it will report to the body that created it. The report will typically include a summary of the methods used by the committee and the facts that it uncovered. The report will also include any recommendations the committee has made.
If a committee decides that there is sufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges against the persons involved, the panel chairperson will make such referrals to the Justice Department. A prosecutor is under no obligation to pursue charges against those referred by a congressional panel, but the move could put political pressure on the Justice Department to do so and might allow lawmakers to unveil new evidence that federal prosecutors have not yet accessed.
In addition to criminal referrals, the committee could also recommend that the House Ethics Committee punish four Republican members of Congress for failing to comply with subpoenas, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Reps. Andy Biggs, Jim Jordan and Scott Perry. The committee will be holding a public meeting on Monday that is likely to include a presentation of the findings by its staff. It will also discuss the names of those it has decided to refer for prosecution and the reasons why they were chosen. A subcommittee of the committee will also make recommendations to the full committee about how many criminal and other referrals should be pursued. The full committee will then vote on those recommendations at the public meeting. The committee is scheduled to finish its work by the end of the year. It will then be dissolved when Republicans take over the House in January 2021.