The People Deserve Answers and Accountability and this Bill Helps Provide It
WASHINGTON – Open the Government expressed support for the Special Counsel Transparency Act of 2018, which was introduced today in the House of Representatives by Reps. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and David Cicilline (D-RI) The bill seeks to preserve the work of the Justice Department’s investigation into the 2016 election, in the event the Trump Administration dismisses Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“We strongly support the Special Counsel Transparency Act of 2018, because it’s imperative that Congress exercise its oversight power to see Robert Mueller’s investigation through to the end,” said Open the Government Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg. “All documents that pertain to this investigation must be preserved and conclusions shared, so we can protect our system of checks and balances, ensure the peoples’ right to know, demand accountability if wrong doing occurred, and increase trust in future elections.”
The Special Counsel Transparency Act of 2018 requires Mueller, or any future special counsels, to produce a report on the results of their investigations to Congress within two weeks of being removed. It also requires the Attorney General to submit a separate report detailing the status of the investigation at the time of the firing. If the Attorney General is recused, as is the case with Jeff Sessions stepping aside in the Mueller investigation, the next most senior official in the Justice Department must deliver the report.
Each report must include all evidence of criminal activity that implicates the president, anyone in the executive office, or anyone appointed by the president. Grand jury information must also be included, which is particularly important in order for Congress to carry out its oversight role and to ensure the public sees the evidence behind the investigation.
Under current law, the special counsel is not required to hand over such records, or even make available a final report to Congress. While Mueller has made some information available through publicly available indictments, without a requirement for disclosure of the final report there is a risk that the public will never have access to the truth.
“There is clearly enormous public interest in the special counsel’s investigation,” said Open the Government Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg. “This bill provides an important safeguard to ensure some access to information should the special counsel be dismissed.“
Open the Government is an inclusive, nonpartisan coalition that works to strengthen our democracy and empower the public by advancing policies that create a more open, accountable, and responsive government.
Read Letter: Endorsement of the Special Counsel Transparency Act of 2018