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the basis of the affidavits of the parties, there were no disputed issues of fact with respect to petitioners' claim. It nevertheless upheld summary dismissal of the action on the ground that “the record before the District Court contained unchallenged facts of a nature and scope sufficient to give [respondents] an immunity against answerability in damages In support of this conclusion the court addressed itself to only that part of petitioners' claims which related to the take-over of the records by respondents after the “raids.” As to this, it held that the subject matter of the seized records was within the jurisdiction of the Senate Subcommittee and that the issuance of subpoenas to the Louisiana committee to obtain the records held by it was validated by subsequent Subcommittee ratification. On this basis, the court held that the acts for which petitioners seek relief were privileged, citing Tenney v. Brandhove, 341 U.S. 367 (1951).
The court did not specifically comment upon petitioners' contention that the record shows a material dispute of fact as to their claim that respondent Sourwine actively collaborated with counsel to the Louisiana committee in making the plans for the allegedly illegal “raids” pursuant to the claimed authority of the Louisiana committee and on its behalf, in which petitioners claim that their property and records were seized in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights. In the absence of the factual refinement which can occur only as a result of trial, we need not and, indeed, could not express judgment as to the legal consequences of such collaboration, if it occurred.
There is controverted evidence in the record, such as the date appearing on certain documents which respondents' evidence disputes as a typographical error, which affords more than merely colorable substance to petitioners' assertions as to respondent Sourwine. We make no comment as to whether this evidence standing alone would be sufficient to support a verdict in petitioners' favor against respondent Sourwine, or would require a verdict in his favor. But we believe that, as against an employee of the committee, this showing is sufficient to entitle petitioners to go to trial. In respect of respondent Eastland, we agree with the lower courts that petitioners' complaint must be dismissed. The record does not contain evidence of his involvement in any activity that could result in liability. It is the purpose and office of the doctrine of legislative immunity, having its roots as it does in the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution, Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U.S. 168, 204 (1881), that legislators engaged “in the sphere of legitimate legislative activity," Tenney v. Brandhove, supra, 341 U.S., at 376, should be protected not only from the consequences of litigation's results but also from the burden of defending themselves. This Court has held, however, that this doctrine is less absolute, although applicable, when applied to officers or employees of a legislative body, rather than to legislators themselves. As the Court said in Tenney v. Brandhove, supra, the doctrine, in respect of a legislator, “deserves greater respect than where an official acting on behalf of the legislature is sued
(341 U.S., at 378.) Cf. Wheeldin v. Wheeler, 373 U.S. 647 (1963). In light of this principle, we are compelled to hold that there is a sufficient factual dispute with respect to respondent Sourwine to require reversal of the judgment below as to him.
Accordingly, we affirm the order of the Court of Appeals as to respondent Eastland and reverse and remand to the District Court as to respondent Sourwine for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.
MR. JUSTICE BLACK took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
* As the Court pointed out in Tenney, supra (per Frankfurter, J.), in Kilbourn v. Thompson, supra, this Court "allowed a judgment against the Sergeant-at-Arms, but found that one could not be entered against the defendant members of the House.” 341 U.S., at 378.
APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Argued October 18, 1971. Reargued March 20, 1972.
Decided June 29, 1972 Appellee, a former United States Senatorwas charged with the solicitation and acceptance of bribes in violation of 18 U.S.C. $8 201(c)(1) and 201(g). The District Court, on appellee's pretrial motion, dismissed the indictment on the ground that the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution shielded him “from any prosecution for alleged bribery to perform a legislative act.” The United States filed a direct appeal to this Court under 18 U.S.C. § 3731 (1964 ed., Supp. V), which appellee contends this Court does not have jurisdiction to entertain because the District Court's action was not "a decision or judgment setting aside, or dismissing” the indictment but was instead a summary judgment on the merits based on the facts of the case. Held:
1. This Court has jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C. $ 3731 (1964 ed., Supp. V) to hear the appeal, since the District Court's order was based upon its determination of the constitutional invalidity of 18 U.S.C. $$ 201(c)(1) and 201(g) on the facts as alleged in the indictment. Pp. 504-507.
2. The prosecution of appellee is not prohibited by the Speech or Debate Clause. Although that provision protects Members of Congress from inquiry into legislative acts or the motivation for performance of such acts, United States v. Johnson, 383 U.S. 169, 185, it does not protect all conduct relat
ing to the legislative process. Since in this case
BURGER, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Stewart, Marshall, Blackmun, Powell, and Rehnquist, JJ., joined. Brennan, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Douglas, J., joined, post, p. 529. White, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Douglas and Brennan, JJ., joined, post, p. 551.
Solicitor General Griswold reargued the cause for the United States. With him on the briefs on the original argument were Assistant Attorney General Wilson, Jerome M. Feit, and Beatrice Rosenberg. With him on the brief on the reargument were Assistant Attorney General Petersen and Mr. Feit.
Norman P. Ramsey reargued the cause for appellee. With him on the briefs were Thomas Waxter, Jr., and H. Thomas Howell.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court.
This direct appeal from the District Court presents the question whether a Member of Congress may be prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. $8 201(c)(1), 201(g), for accepting a bribe in exchange for a promise relating to an official act. Appellee, a former United States Senator, was charged in five counts of a 10-count indictment. Counts one, three, five, and seven alleged that on four separate occasions, appellee, while he was a Senator and a member of the Senate Committee on Post Office and Civil Service,
1 The remaining five counts charged the alleged bribers with offering and giving bribes in violation of 18 U.S.C. 201(b).
directly and indirectly, corruptly asked, solicited, sought, accepted, received and agreed to receive [sums] . . in return for being influenced in his performance of official acts in respect to his action, vote, and decision on postage rate legislation which might at any time be pending before him in his official capacity ... in violation of Sections 201(c)
(1) and 2, Title 18, United States Code.2 Count nine charged that appellee
directly and indirectly, asked, demanded, exacted, solicited, sought, accepted, received and agreed to receive [a sum]
for and because of official acts performed by him in respect to his action, vote and decision on postage rate legislation which had been pending before him in his official capacity ... in violation of Sections 201(g) and 2, Title 18, United
States Code.3 Before a trial date was set, the appellee moved to dismiss the indictment on the ground of immunity under the Speech or Debate Clause, Art, I, § 6, of the Constitution, which provides:
2 Title 18 U.S.C. $ 201(c) provides: "Whoever, being a public official or person selected to be a public official, directly or indirectly, corruptly asks, demands, exacts, solicits, seeks, accepts, receives, or agrees to receive anything of value for himself or for any other person or entity, in return for:
"(1) being influenced in his performance of any official act ... [shall be guilty of an offense].”
Title 18 U.S.C. $ 201(a) defines "public official" to include “Member of Congress.” The same subsection provides: “ 'official act' means any decision or action on any question, matter, cause, suit, proceeding or controversy, which may at any time be pending, or which may by law be brought before any public official, in his official capacity, or in his place of trust or profit." Title 18 U.S.C. § 2 is the aiding or abetting statute.
3 Title 18 U.S.C. $ 201(g) provides: "Whoever, being a public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duty, directly or indirectly asks, demands, exacts, solicits, seeks, accepts, receives, or agrees to receive anything of value for himself for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by him . . . [shall be guilty of an offense).”