“The bill includes reforms we urgently need to address the problem that Arthur Schlesinger called the ‘imperial presidency’ in 1973, a problem that reached its peak with Trump but that predates Trump and persists after his departure from Washington” —me washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/…
“…Walter Shaub, former head of the Office of Government Ethics tells me. ‘It’s no exaggeration to say that America needs these reforms if we want to keep this nation a free republic.’”
“Liz Hempowicz, director of public policy at the Project On Government Oversight, made clear in a written statement: “Donald Trump’s presidency exposed significant cracks in the system our founders designed to serve as a check against an imperial president…”
“…The weaknesses in our systems of checks and balances and anti-corruption laws were already there — the last administration just made them more visible to the broader public.’”
“…Hempowicz added: ‘If we want to prevent future abuses of power by the executive branch, we cannot ignore the systemic issues the Trump administration exposed.’” @lizhempowicz
Pass the #ProtectingOurDemocracy Act!

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More from @waltshaub

20 Sep
This comment reflects a failure to understand that recusals are required for a reason. Following this poster’s logic, no recusal should ever be required as to any former client or employer because other members of the public might be more persuasive. That misses the point. /1
If ethics rules required a showing of actual persuasion by a close colleague or business associate, they would be entirely unenforceable. They would also create the appearance of undue influence, which can do as much harm to governmental effectiveness as actual influence./3
Moreover, there is an entire multi-billion dollar per year lobbying industry precisely because these types of contacts do result in influence. The poster may not appreciate that, but people shelling out billions for lobbyists know this to be true. /4
Read 5 tweets
19 Sep
This is an example of terrible management in the Treasury Department across multiple administrations. Tax lawyers who left a few top accounting firms and then returned to those firms captured a tax office and wrote rules favorable to their former/future employer’s clients. /1
If any of the officials had arrangements for future employment with their former employers while meeting with the employers, they committed a crime under the conflict of interest law. If not, it’s still terrible management. @OversightDems should invest /2 nytimes.com/2021/09/19/bus…
This is an example of how personnel is policy. The current and former admins have always felt there’s nothing wrong with people rotating into govt from for-profit employers and going back to those employers, and in between taking governmental actions that help those employers! /3
Read 5 tweets
17 Sep
“‘The response to the Nixon administration was sweeping ethics reform,’ Walter Shaub told The New Republic. ‘We just had four years that were worse than Nixon. The response was to gut the ethics provision that made it through the House? That’s an insult’” newrepublic.com/article/163684…
“Trump didn’t create the weaknesses, he merely exploited them. This is a case of the entrenched powers that be on both sides of the aisle liking the system the way it is. They don’t want to change it. They’re naïve to the threat to democracy.” newrepublic.com/article/163684…
Read 4 tweets
16 Sep
In 2020, @USAGMgov was led by the bizarre Michael Pack. USAGM’s ethics office reports that, under Pack, the HR office was directed NOT to tell it when political appointees were hired. As a result, it lacked info it needed to conduct new employee and annual ethics training!
This also impeded the ethics officer’s ability to collect financial disclosure reports from Pack’s political appointees.
Read 5 tweets
14 Sep
The Joe Manchin voting rights bill HAS TO PASS because voting rights are under attack. For that reason, I’ll support it. But let’s be clear about the flimflam the Senate Dems behind this watered down just pulled. They took out ALL of HR1’s ethics provisions. EVERY LAST ONE! /1
Here are SOME of the provisions they felt were dealbreakers and had to be removed. These are provisions that the House of Representatives passed. But the Senate? No, this was a bridge too far for these Senators. Somebody should ask them why! /2
EVERY LAST ONE OF THESE IS NOW GONE!
- require POTUS/VPOTUS + CANDIDATES for POTUS/VPOTUS to disclose 10 years of tax returns
- require the Supreme Court to FINALLY adopt an ethics code
- void federal contracts with POTUS/VPOTUS & impose penalties for holding such contracts /3
Read 24 tweets
1 Sep
Democracy can’t be a spectator sport. Freedom isn’t free. It may feel uncomfortable when I blame us as much as I blame the president & senators for failing to push voting rights. But the uncomfortable truth is that the public isn’t doing enough. WE have to create the pressure, /1
Did WE show up at the voting rights marches this weekend? Some of us did. But far too few to make them feel the heat. Do WE use social media to put pressure on the POTUS and senate? Or do WE use social media to offer excuses and attack people who criticize these politicians? /2
Are folks under the impression that fascism cares about their feelings? Will the excuses matter when voter suppression changes this country forever? Is there some consolation prize that could possibly matter at all when an authoritarian steals the next election? /3
Read 5 tweets

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