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Cummings Urges Cautious Path for Oversight

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The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee may be known as a forum for political street fighting, but ranking member Elijah Cummings is trying to be more strategic with his punches.

Nearly six months into his role as Democrats’ lead defender, the Maryland lawmaker brings a quiet strength to his effort to blunt House Republicans’ attacks against President Barack Obama.

Cummings said he believes the panel must wield its power carefully, operating one step below the courts.

“We have a very rare problem: That is we can subpoena anybody in this country to that place and we can swear them in and they have to testify or plead the fifth,” Cummings said.

For him, that means that every investigation meets three criteria: integrity, thoroughness and fairness.

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