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Pelosi Rings Bell

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday nominated Rep. Chris Bell (D-Texas) to serve on the Financial Services Committee. [IMGCAP(1)]

Bell would replace fellow Texas Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D), whom Pelosi recently tapped to take an open position on the Energy and Commerce Committee. The Energy slot became available after Rep. Ralph Hall, also of Texas, defected the Democratic Party for the GOP.

The Steering and Policy Committee must approve the nomination.

Squashing Subpoenas. The Senate approved a measure last week to “authorize legal representation” for Senators and staff subpoenaed by a man charged with disrupting Congress in September 2003.

Parviz Karim-Panahi was charged with “disrupting proceedings at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Armed Services” and has since issued subpoenas to 24 Members and five aides “to provide testimony and produce documents” at his trial.

Senate lawyers will represent 22 members of the Armed Services panel and three staffers as well as two Members and two aides of the Foreign Relations Committee, according to Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).

“These subpoenas, which were issued by the defendant on his own behalf, are not well taken,” Frist said. “As the testimony and documents sought by these subpoenas are either irrelevant or cumulative of the testimony and evidence that will be offered at trial from other sources, evidence from these Senators and Senate employees is unnecessary.

“Moreover, the testimony and documents sought by the subpoenas [are] privileged under the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution.”

— Erin P. Billings and Mark Preston

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