Friday, September 17, 2021

About Oversight Committees

 By Anna Von Reitz

Oversight Committees need to be under the control of Ombudsmen Committees that protect the rights of individual Assembly members, other Assembly Committee, and officers and officials of the Assembly---- and they need to be subject to review by the General Assembly. 

Otherwise, they can be abused and abusive. 

The true function of an Oversight Committee is to be on hand when and if there are serious allegations of criminal behavior, such as theft, insurrection, purposeful obstruction, selling information about the Assembly or its members, etc. that are backed up with credible evidence. 

Their role is to investigate and make recommendations about such allegations --- which they then bring to the Sheriff's Office, the Continental or U.S. Marshals, or the General Assembly itself --- for further investigation and/or prosecution. 

You need to bring this answer to the attention of the Coordinator, Chairman, and members of the Oversight Committee.  The Oversight Committee may NOT be used to promote political agendas, carry out personal vendettas, used to censor, or take on any other improper activity seeking to control the work of other committees or functions of the Assembly as a whole.  Their role is only to investigate serious complaints that are backed up by credible evidence and brought to the Committee by members of the Assembly.  They are not allowed to unreasonably or without credible evidence commence investigations on their own, and may not in any case promote any witch hunts against other members or Committees. 

An Oversight Committee should not be a static Committee, even though it may be a standing Committee--- meaning that people are regularly cycled through the Oversight Committee according to a volunteer selection process, similar to Juror Selection, to serve for one year and two year terms as Committee Members.  The Chairman can also appoint Special Oversight Committees when the allegations involve arcane or specialized subject matter that specialized skills and knowledges --- for example, a clerk is accused of embezzlement, so the Chairman may appoint a Special Oversight Committee to investigate composed of accountants and fiscal managers.  

Thus, a standing Oversight Committee is constantly replenished with new members and is under oversight of the Ombudsman Committee and the General Assembly itself. 

These measures are necessary to prevent the Oversight Committee from being used as a tool to control, coerce, or exercise abusive power over individual members and other committees.

If your Assembly has attempted to create an Oversight Committee without these clearly stated countermeasures in place, they need to be undertaken without delay.  Any such Oversight Committees should be fully informed of their true function(s), the limits of their functions and authorities, and the Chairman's ability to appoint Special Oversight Committees above and beyond the General Assembly Oversight Committee.  

I hope that this explanation will flesh out the specifics of what Oversight Committees are and how they are supposed to function.  Please share widely with Assembly Members nationwide and especially with Assembly Chairmen and Coordinators. 

Anna Maria


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