FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 21, 2020
Government Accountability Project Urges the Support and Passing of the Protecting Our Democracy Act
WASHINGTON—Government Accountability Project calls on Congress to support and pass the Protecting Our Democracy Act (PODA). PODA is a package of landmark reforms and laws that will prevent presidential abuses of power, restore our system of checks and balances, strengthen accountability and transparency, and safeguard our elections from foreign interference. This bill was reintroduced by Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) to the U.S. House of Representatives today.
Under the previous administration, our nation witnessed how a president could abuse the powers of their office to protect and enrich themselves and their family and friends, target their political opponents, and solicit foreign interference to help their election – all at great cost to our democracy. Just as Congress did after Watergate, we must again enact new nonpartisan laws and reforms to strengthen our democratic institutions against future presidents – both Democrats and Republicans – who seek to undermine them.
This bill stands as the third pillar of Congress’ efforts to strengthen our democracy, alongside H.R. 1, the For the People Act and H.R. 4, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The provisions within PODA will:
- Reinforce Congress’ power to enforce subpoenas, to make government funding decisions, and to conduct oversight over the executive branch;
- Prevent the president from granting pardons to family, friends, or themselves, or from using the office to enrich themselves, or utilizing government resources for campaign purposes;
- Strengthen protections for federal whistleblowers and inspectors general who report government waste, fraud, or abuse; and
- Explicitly prohibit political campaigns and parties from soliciting or accepting foreign assistance to influence an election.
The passage of PODA is critical because not only does it strengthen the system of checks and balances over future executive branches, but it also ensures better protections for those brave whistleblowers who step forward to expose government waste, fraud, or abuse. Embedded within PODA, the Whistleblower Protections Improvement Act (WPIA) will allow future government employees to come forward without fearing retaliation – enabling higher transparency and accountability within our nation’s government.
Legal Director of Government Accountability Project, Tom Devine, said:
The Protecting Our Democracy Act is the blueprint to restore a genuine basis for public trust in our government. Having received support from both parties in the past, the whistleblower protection provisions specifically provide a desperately needed upgrade for federal employees, the only major group in the labor force where whistleblowers do not have the right for a day in court to seek justice from a jury. Patching these critical weaknesses will ensure that ethical employees can report fraud, waste, and abuses they discover no matter which party or administration holds power. Democracy, like whistleblowing, is a nonpartisan issue, and we urge Congress to pass this legislation quickly and unanimously.
Contact: Andrew Harman, Communications Director
Phone: (202) 926-3304
Government Accountability Project
Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.