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Congress Must Pass the Protecting Our Democracy Act – Project On Government Oversight

September 21, 2021
Media Contacts: Liz Hempowicz, Director of Public Policy at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), [email protected]; or Caitlin MacNeal, Communications Director at POGO, [email protected]
(WASHINGTON) — Today, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) reintroduced the Protecting Our Democracy Act (PODA), and the Project On Government Oversight urges Congress to pass this crucial legislation to ensure the government is worthy of the public’s trust.
This bill includes several key reforms that would provide a check against unrestrained presidential power and improve transparency and accountability in the federal government. Many of the measures included in PODA address issues POGO has raised for years, including the broken system meant to protect our whistleblowers and the beleaguered inspector general system.
Yet there’s a renewed urgency to pass this bill now. The previous administration put on display how weak our system of checks and balances has become, and PODA would address many of these accountability gaps. We must make sure that no future presidents are able to commit similar abuses of power.
“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. If we want to prevent future abuses of power by the executive branch, we cannot ignore the systemic issues the Trump administration exposed. We must enact legislative reform now,” said Liz Hempowicz, director of public policy at the Project On Government Oversight. “The Protecting Our Democracy Act is a direct answer to public concerns about corruption in government. Congress must pass this bill to protect the integrity of our democracy.”
PODA includes reforms that would rein in executive power, including reasonable limits on emergency powers, better rules to prevent political interference at the Justice Department, and improved enforcement of the Hatch Act, which bars executive branch employees from using their office to promote political activity. The legislation also bolsters Congress’s power and ability to conduct oversight by bringing greater transparency into executive branch spending and clearer authority to enforce congressional subpoenas.
By placing new limits on executive power and giving Congress better tools to hold the White House accountable for its actions, PODA would significantly reduce executive branch corruption and abuse of power. This is a must-pass bill.
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Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when the government fails to serve the public or silences those who report wrongdoing.

We champion reforms to achieve a more effective, ethical, and accountable federal government that safeguards constitutional principles.

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