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Bill Pittard Co-Authors Law 360 Article on Handling Corporate Congressional Probes in The Trump Era

In a recent article, partner Bill Pittard provides suggestions on how corporations may navigate a congressional committee investigation.  Mr. Pittard co-authored the article with John Hellerman, a communications specialist.  The article appeared in Law 360.

Drawing on his experience as Deputy General Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives, Mr. Pittard counsels corporations facing crises, including crises that may invite regulatory, criminal, or congressional scrutiny.  Despite the apparent success of President Trump in using attack and disruption tactics when faced with investigation, Mr. Pittard advises that it is usually better for companies to stick to the usual playbook of responses:

  • Assess the situation;
  • Don’t say or do anything that is going to make it worse;
  • Engage professional help;
  • Play for time;
  • Provide some context;
  • Apologize as necessary;
  • Trumpet several remedial measures; and
  • Keep your head down.

As an example, the article analyzes the mixed results achieved by Facebook when it deviated from that approach in favor of a more aggressive (Trumpian) one in the face of the Cambridge Analytica story.

Corporations, which need to satisfy consumers in addition to appeasing congressional representatives and the media, should cautiously weigh the risks and rewards of a nontraditional approach to crisis communications when the subpoena and the spotlight point their way.  For the full article, click here.