Updated 12:49 p.m.
Congress is wading into the controversy surrounding the death of political activist Aaron Swartz, with top House oversight legislators asking the Department of Justice for a briefing in the federal case brought against the 26-year-old Internet entrepreneur.
The top Republican and Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sent a joint letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. late Monday afternoon that raises questions about whether the level of punishment that prosecutors sought for Swartz’s alleged offenses was appropriate.
The same questions have bounced around the Internet and media reports since the January 11 death Swartz, known in part for opposing two Internet-related censorship bills, including the Stop Online Piracy Act. It even prompted a hacking attack of the U.S. Sentencing Commission's website by the group Anonymous.
The letter signed by Representatives Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) gives more heft to the lingering questions about the role of the DOJ in the events leading up to Swartz’s apparent suicide while facing time in prison for a cyber crime.