WASHINGTON, January 4, 2017 – Today, a coalition of organizations committed to promoting open and accountable government are calling on Senate leadership to demonstrate the commitment of the 115th Congress to conduct public business in full view of the public. In an era of historic distrust of government in general, and Congress in particular, it is essential for members of the Senate to take meaningful steps to improve public trust in the appointment and confirmation process.
The letter urges the Senate leadership to immediately establish disclosure rules for the Committees before which presidential appointees appear. Public access to the information provided to Congress about presidential nominees must be maximized through online disclosure prior to confirmation hearings.
The letter emphasizes that, as Presidential appointees act to implement the goals of the President, running programs and agencies critical to the health, security, and well-being of the American public, it is imperative that the public be able to educate ourselves about the background and qualifications of presidential nominees. There is, as yet, no established procedure for including public input and open-sourced scrutiny as part of the confirmation process.
Consistent and standardized practices and procedures need to be immediately established and implemented to provide full, comprehensive public access to the following for each nominee: the questionnaires that each person is required to fill out; the financial disclosures required by law to be filed; and the ethical agreement discussing divestment or other personnel moves that will be made to avoid conflicts. These will enable the public to understand the nominee’s work experience, business holdings, and personal lives.
Read the letter here.