'It's a non-issue', source tells The BRAD BLOG, federal law already 'makes it a crime to lie to Congress, regardless of oath'
UPDATED: Siegelman whistleblower Simpson responds: 'I had to take oath'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/5/2009, 2:49pm PT  

[See update at bottom of article, for response from whistleblower in Don Siegelman case.]

Given the questions concerning whether or not Karl Rove and Harriet Miers will be required to testify under oath as part of their agreement to give "transcribed depositions under penalty of perjury" concerning the U.S. Attorney purge scandal, as announced yesterday by House Judiciary chairman John Conyers, we thought we'd seek some clarification.

We asked a senior source on the U.S. House Judiciary team whether or not taking an oath before testifying would be required, or whether the agreement requires Rove and Miers not be placed under oath. Writes our source in reply:

NO oath is required for congressional testimony. 18 USC 1001 (copied below) make it a crime to lie to congress, regardless of whether there is an oath. Penalties are the same as traditional perjury, where an oath is given (as in a court of law). There is no difference. When oaths are given in congress, it is generally for the cameras or to remind the witness of his obligations. On the latter point, the same can be accomplished by reminding about a witness's obligations under 18 usc 1001. This is a non issue.

See the copy of 18 USC, Sec. 1001, as sent by the House Judiciary source below...

18 USC Sec. 1001 01/03/2007

-EXPCITE-
TITLE 18 - CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
PART I - CRIMES
CHAPTER 47 - FRAUD AND FALSE STATEMENTS

-HEAD-
Sec. 1001. Statements or entries generally

-STATUTE-
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully -

(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both. If the matter relates to an offense under chapter 109A, 109B, 110, or 117, or section 1591, then the term of imprisonment imposed under this section shall be not more than 8 years.

(b) Subsection (a) does not apply to a party to a judicial proceeding, or that party's counsel, for statements, representations, writings or documents submitted by such party or counsel to a judge or magistrate in that proceeding.
(c) With respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, subsection (a) shall apply only to -

(1) administrative matters, including a claim for payment, a matter related to the procurement of property or services, personnel or employment practices, or support services, or a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch; or
(2) any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate.

UPDATE 3/6/09: The complete agreement with Rove and Miers is now posted here...

FURTHER UPDATE 3/6/09: Dana Jill Simpson, a key whistleblower in the Don Siegelman case, responds to our report, and wonders why she had to take the oath before testifying to Congress, but Rove and Miers don't have to. Full story, statement here...