Congrats, President-Elect Biden! Now, Restore Accountability in the Federal Government

40 Advocacy Organizations & Experts Release Accountability 2021 Reform Agenda for Biden Administration

— Open The Government today announced Accountability 2021, a robust agenda of actionable recommendations that president-elect Joe Biden must address to repair critical gaps in transparency, ethics, and oversight, in order to forge a new path to accountable government. Our democratic institutions face a historic crisis, hastened by the Trump administration’s unprecedented secrecy, defiance of the rule of law, disregard of norms, consolidation of power and corruption.

In response, 40 individuals and experts from organizations across the political spectrum developed solutions to address failures in oversight laws and practices. The Accountability 2021 initiative centers around 18 core principles across broad categories that reflect the foundation of a responsive government, specifically Open Government, Ethics, Balance of Power, Whistleblowers, Responsive Government, and Pandemic Preparedness and Response in order to rebuild a federal government ecosystem that protects the public interest rather than public officials’ gain.

Accountability 2021 contributors plan to advocate for the initiative with the Biden administration and on Capitol Hill, urging leaders on both sides of the aisle to prioritize and embrace the recommendations to restore accountability in the federal government.

Open The Government Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg said:

“The Accountability 2021 initiative recognizes the incoming president’s power to create a more accountable government and demands that his administration takes the tangible steps necessary to do so. It transcends a return to the pre-Trump administration status quo that would limit Americans’ access to information in order to protect those in power, ensure zero consequences for officials who violate the rules, and exclude the public’s voice in the democratic process. Instead, it contains transformative, actionable solutions that will help president-elect Biden prioritize and implement longstanding accountability reform moving forward.”

Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn commented:

“Americans expect and deserve a government that is accountable and transparent to the people and we look forward to working with President-elect Biden and his administration to ensure that happens. Over the last four years we have learned hard lessons about what can happen to government accountability and ethics if they are ignored and not enforced and we simply cannot ever let this happen again. Unwritten rules, gentlemen’s agreements, and lax oversight can no longer be tolerated. Strong safeguards must be put in place across our government to protect our democracy and the Accountability 2021 initiative helps set the course.”

Project On Government Oversight Executive Director Danielle Brian commented:

“All of the recommendations outlined in Accountability 2021 represent a much-needed dose of pro-accountability and pro-transparency changes to the federal government. It is incumbent on the public and organizations in the good government community to demand more accountability and transparency from the federal government, and Accountability 2021 provides the blueprint to ensure this happens.”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Policy Director Jennifer Ahearn commented:

“Trump took decisive steps to avoid accountability and transparency during his administration, privileging his own power over preserving a government for the people. CREW is pleased to be a part of the Accountability 2021 project that has developed these critical solutions to help the Biden administration reinstate checks and balances in the federal government. We will continue to fight corruption as we work to build a government that works in the public’s interest, not just those at the top.”  

Public Citizen President Robert Weissman commented:

“After a presidency that defined itself in large part by the abuse of government power, it’s time for a reset. The Accountability 2021 agenda is not just about curing the pervasive abuses of the Trump administration, it’s about putting in place rules, standards and systems so that all Americans can have confidence that the government works for the people – not for the self-enrichment of those who hold high office, nor on behalf of big corporations or connected cronies.”

The other organizations and experts that contributed to the Accountability 2021 agenda are:

American Bar Association, American Civil Liberties Union, American Enterprise Institute, American Oversight, Bauman Foundation, Brennan Center, Campaign Legal Center, Center for American Progress, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Defending Rights and Dissent, Economic Policy Institute, Equity Forward, Federation of American Scientists, Fund for Constitutional Government, Georgetown Law, Good Government Now, Government Accountability Project, Human Rights First, Hyphen Strategies, Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, MALDEF, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, MuckRock, National Security Archive, National Security Counselors, Open Society Foundations, Protect Democracy, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Sunlight Foundation, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Senior Obama Administration Officials and Accountability Experts.

About Open The Government

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.

Contact: Ufuoma Otu, Communications Director
Phone: (202) 332-0251; (202) 520-3012 (M)