The Perjury Question

I have a habit of asking what I like to call not-so-stupid questions around here. So when I saw conflicting testimony from the Alberto Gonzales-U.S. Attorney firing hearings I wanted to know what the procedure is for bringing perjury charges against a person for bearing false witness to Congress. I asked my colleague CBS News legal consultant Andrew Cohen for help, and after several inquiries, we got an answer from a Democratic staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The staffer says there is no statutory process to bring perjury charges; a committee member or members can refer the issue to the Department of Justice, or the DOJ can start an inquiry on its own.

But as Andrew pointed out in his blog post this morning, such charges are very rare, and it's a long shot at best that a charge will come out of these hearings.