Sending Office: Honorable Jamie Raskin
Restore Transparency and Accountability in the Executive Branch
Support the Comprehensive Executive Branch Ethics Enforcement Act (H.R. 5902)
Cosponsors: Reps. Capuano, Clark, Cohen, DeSaulnier, Evans, Gomez, Huffman, Jackson Lee, Johnson, Kelly, Lynch, Nadler, Norton, O’Halleran, Pallone, Payne, Quigley, Schakowsky, Speier, Walz, Watson Coleman, and Welch.
Supported by: Public Citizen, Common Cause, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Democracy 21, Project on Government Oversight (POGO), Ambassador (ret.) Norman Eisen (President Obama’s Ethics Lawyer), Richard Painter (President
George W. Bush’s Ethics Lawyer), Norman Ornstein (American Enterprise Institute), Demand Progress Action, and the Sunlight Foundation.
While the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is charged with monitoring ethics compliance at federal agencies and the White House, it presently acts only in an advisory capacity. OGE identifies violations of ethics laws and regulations
but lacks the authority to compel compliance. To fulfill its mission of guaranteeing compliance with high ethical standards throughout the Executive Branch, OGE needs to be reformed and empowered to make compliance real.
The Comprehensive Executive Branch Ethics Enforcement Act of 2018
remedies the glaring deficiencies in federal ethics enforcement. It protects OGE’s independence by maintaining a five-year term for the Director, subject only to removal for cause. It strengthens OGE’s central oversight responsibility. It requires
agency ethics officials to report to OGE about the status of compliance with federal ethics laws while still preserving their authority within agencies. It also puts OGE on par with similar entities by authorizing the office to communicate directly with Congress
regarding oversight responsibilities, legislative proposals, and its budget.
The bill also changes the current piecemeal approach to ethics information collection and transparency in the executive branch. It establishes OGE as the central repository for information related to the executive branch ethics program, requires that this
information become part of the public record, and provides for it to be made available online.
Finally, the bill gives OGE authority to issue administrative penalties for violations of ethics laws and regulations. Individuals disputing the findings would be entitled to a formal hearing. If necessary, the OGE Director would be empowered to seek subpoenas
from a federal court during investigations, and may refer egregious violations to the Department of Justice for civil or criminal prosecution.
These changes empower OGE to fairly enforce federal ethics laws and regulations while maintaining strong checks and balances. Executive Branch employees are held responsible for compliance, but they keep protections against abuse or intrusion by OGE. The
Comprehensive Executive Branch Ethics Enforcement Act allows OGE to fulfill its mission as a fully functioning compliance and enforcement watchdog.
Please join us in cosponsoring this important commonsense legislation that strengthens transparency and accountability across the Executive Branch and helps restore public confidence in government. If you would like to become a cosponsor or have any questions,
please contact William.Roberts@mail.house.gov.
Very truly yours,
Jamie Raskin Richard Blumenthal
Member of Congress U.S. Senator
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0