McCarthy announces top House lawyer as fights over Biden probes shape up

The lawyer who will lead the court fights mounted by the newly GOP-controlled House of Representatives is a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas and “seasoned litigator” with years of experience at the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced the appointment of Matthew Berry, who most recently worked at the firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, as House general counsel.

Berry will play a key role as the House battles with the Biden administration over the scope of lawmakers’ investigations shape up.

His predecessor, Doug Letter — who served as House General counsel after Democrats took over the House in 2019 — rewrote the playbook for how Congress can use litigation to advance its probes.

“Matthew is a seasoned litigator and experienced counselor with over 25 years of public and private sector experience,” McCarthy, a California Republican, said in a statement Wednesday.

“Matthew brings the knowledge and skills necessary to restore the integrity of this institution and is the right choice to fill this vital role,” McCarthy said.

While at the Justice Department, Berry did stints at the Office of Legal Counsel — which issues internal opinions that guide the executive branch on some of the thorniest legal questions — as well as at the Office of Legal Policy, which spearheads the policy initiatives of the department. Berry then spent more than a decade at the FCC, eventually serving as its general counsel and as chief of staff.

In addition to waging the court battles over subpoena enforcement and other disputes that might emerge from House investigations, the House General Counsel’s office works on the legal briefs that the House may seek to file in cases concerning laws passed by Congress and other matters. The office also handles the lower-profile work of advising individual lawmakers on legal questions that may arise as part of their legislative duties.

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