This bill — the Restoring the Public Trust Act — would incorporate a number of pieces of legislation aimed at strengthening ethical standards in the federal government. It’s divided into three sections aimed at curbing corruption, eliminating conflicts of interest, and strengthening oversight by inspectors general. A breakdown of each of section can be found below.
Section I: Draining the Swamp
This part of the bill consists of multiple existing bills, all of which seek to curb corruption and nepotism in federal government. The individual bills are:
Stop Waste And Misuse by the President (SWAMP) Act of 2018: Requires the President to reimburse the Treasury Department for taxpayer dollars spent at properties in which he has a financial stake, like Mar-a-Lago
Stop Waste And Misuse by Presidential Flyers Landing Yet Evading Rules and Standards (SWAMP FLYERS) Act: Prohibits the use of federal funds for the official travel of a senior political appointee on a non-commercial, private, or chartered flight unless they certify – under penalty of perjury – that no alternative flight was available
E. Scott Pruitt Accountability for Government Officials Act of 2018: E. Scott Pruitt Accountability for Government Officials Act of 2018
Curb Objectionable Redirection of Resources and Unconstitutional Payments to Trump (CORRUPT) Act: The head of each agency must submit to the Office of Government Ethics a report on the amount expended by that agency to any property owned by the President or his family
Relatives In Government Getting Employment Dishonorably (RIGGED) Act: Makes federal nepotism laws applicable to the Executive Office of the President
Determining if Regulatory Actions are in the Interest of the Nation or the Swamp Act of 2018 (DRAIN the Swamp Act of 2018): The head of each agency must submit an assessment of any regulatory conflict of interest pertaining to the President and various senior advisors that might arise from an agency’s rule to the Comptroller General
Section II: Rooting Out Conflicts of Interest
This part of the bill includes two bills, the Commonsense Legislation Ensuring Accountability by Reporting Access of Non-Cleared Employees to Secrets (CLEARANCES) Act and Presidential Tax Transparency Act, as well as other requirements to eliminate conflicts of interest.
Commonsense Legislation Ensuring Accountability by Reporting Access of Non-Cleared Employees to Secrets (CLEARANCES) Act: The White House must report to Congress when it grants a security clearance in contravention of an unfavorable clearance recommendation, in part to prevent dangerous and heavily indebted individuals from entering the most sensitive positions in government.
Blind Trusts: Requires members of the President’s Cabinet and certain senior White House advisors to place stocks, bonds, commodities futures, other forms of securities in a blind trust during their tenure.
Preventing domestic emoluments: Prohibits any business interest owned in whole or in part by the President or Vice President, his/her spouse, or immediate family member from doing business with the federal government.
Presidential Tax Transparency Act: Requires all candidates for President to release their tax returns for the past three years.
No more shadow White House meetings: Requires the White House to maintain a publicly accessible website that includes data on visitor logs.
Section III: Strengthening Inspectors General
This part of the bill would protect inspectors general, and ensure Congressional oversight of their hiring and firing decisions. There are two provisions:
Congressional oversight of inspectors general: Requires notification to Congress of a president’s decision to place an agency inspector general – whose job is to root out waste, fraud, and corruption – on leave or to change their status in any way.
Presidential explanation of failure to nominate an inspector general: Requires the president to report to Congress if he or she fails to nominate an Inspector General for a given agency, including a target date for making a formal recommendation. This report must also include the president’s reasons for not making a formal nomination, and a target date for making a formal nomination.