Bipartisan Amendment Ensures Transparency and Accountability for Future Investigations by Special Counsels
WASHINGTON – Open the Government Executive Director, Lisa Rosenberg, commends the Senate Judiciary Committee for supporting an amendment that significantly advances transparency and accountability for the Robert Mueller investigation. Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee debated and passed the bipartisan Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, a bill to protect special counsels from undue firing. The legislation included an amendment introduced by Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) that requires the Justice Department to provide a report to Congress if a special counsel is removed, or when the investigation is concluded. Without such a provision, openness advocates warn, the final results of the Mueller probe might never see the light of day.
“We strongly support legislation that helps Congress exercise its oversight power to see Robert Mueller’s investigation through to the end,” said Open the Government Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg. “The bipartisan legislation that passed today includes an important requirement that advances the public interest by demanding transparency and accountability from the Justice Department, and ensuring that investigations into the highest levels of power cannot be kept behind closed doors.”
Chairman Grassley’s amendment provides an important safeguard to protect the public’s right to know, requiring the DOJ to report on decisions to expand or contract the scope of the investigation. After intense negotiation between Judiciary Committee members, Senator Grassley narrowed the scope of the amendment so as to not interfere with the progress of an ongoing investigation.
Open the Government coalition members have called for legislation that safeguards and preserves the work of the Mueller probe into the 2016 election. Last week, OTG led a letter of support for the Special Counsel Transparency Act – a bill that would require that the DOJ provide Congress with imperative information and help protect the evidence associated with the inquiry. We commend the Senate Judiciary Committee members who today voted in support of strong legislation to mandate reporting on the information gathered by special prosecutors, and to ensure maximum public transparency without jeopardizing ongoing investigations in the process.
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.