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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
    IntroducedNovember 20th, 2018

What is it?

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:

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.

Impact

Executive branch; Congress; the President; executive agencies; and governmental ethics.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) introduced this bill to strengthen ethical standards in the federal government to prevent government corruption and ensure accountability for the American public. In a joint statement, Rep. Lieu and bill cosponsors Reps. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) said:

“One of the most surprising aspects of the Trump Administration has been how willingly they have shirked ethical norms—and how easily some of our current laws have allowed it to happen. Actions that would’ve been unthinkable in prior Administrations are standard practice in this one. If there is something positive to come out of the Trump Administration’s culture of corruption, it’s that we now have an acute understanding of the loopholes in our current anticorruption protections. Whether it’s using government airplanes for personal trips or forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for visits to an official’s commercial property, Trump’s willingness to wring the taxpayer dry needs to end. Our institutions are only as strong as people’s faith in them. In order to restore the public’s confidence in their government, we have to get rid of grifting among those in our highest ranks of office. Our Restoring the Public Trust Act is a tool to help us get there.”

This bill has four cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats.


Of NotePresident Trump’s known business dealings and personal interests present many potential conflicts with his public duties as President of the United States. He’s been accused of profiting off of the presidency, making policy with an eye to serving his own and his friends’ interests, and more. Similarly, members of the administration have been accused of improprieties such as too much closeness to industry interests and using their positions to boost Trump brands.

Collectively, President Trump, his family members, appointees, and advisers have been accused of conflicts of interest, misuse of public funds, influence peddling, self-enrichment, working for foreign governments, failure to disclose information, and violating ethics rules. In some cases, these accusations have led to investigations and lawsuits. In other cases, administration members have resigned.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Rawpixel)

AKA

Restoring the Public Trust Act

Official Title

To strengthen transparency and accountability within the Federal Government, and for other purposes.

    This is way overdue and I would be surprised if it actually fucking happen. Need to get the money influence out of our government.
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    No. Legislative bloat. All that needs to be done is to follow the Constitution. If a federal actor behaves unethically, there are already remedies. If it is unethical AND illegal, remove by firing (if allowable under Constitution- like Mueller, for instance) or impeachment. If the behavior is unethical but not illegal, fire the same as above or let the scumbag be elected out of office by their constituents. It’s all covered. The problem is getting accurate information from the press as to who is doing what and the true nature/legality of those actions. They’re all over Trump about collusion while failing to inform the People that collusion is not even a crime. Worse, they insinuate and even declare that it is a crime. The ethics cleanup is much more needed in press than in the government. Who would have ever thought that would ever be the case, but here we are. But that cannot be legislated due to 1st Amendment, so it is up to We the People to sniff out the liars and display their deceit publicly.
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    The Trump administratiin taught us that we can't expect our public servants to abide by ethical standards and hold themselves accountable. It's a shame that it's come to this. Plenty of previous administration officials came from the corporate sector so nothing new there. Greed is the difference here, and a basic lack of understanding of ethics in government.
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    Irrespective of background, all who serve in government should be beyond reproach and held to a higher standard. There shouldn't be the slightest hint of gain at the public's expense, nor should there be gain because of their position.
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    This bill is badly needed considering the willful corruption in the current congress and administration. No accountability by republicans on the whole...
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    Considering Marco Rubio is STILL taking blood money from the NRA when he represents the people of a state with some of the most deadly mass shootings in modern history.... if the dead bodies of children don’t stop him, legislation is going to have to.
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    Yes. Support this legislation sponsored by Ted Lieu. We the people deserve an ethical government and decency amongst all elected officials.
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    The Government can have all the ethical standards they want, but if there are no follow up punishments, waste of time to implement. We can all observe how the NFL handles ethics and behavior - as strong as a wet tissue.
    Like (28)
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    Yes, we can't expect (anymore) that the public will vote the more ethical candidate into office. The executive office is too powerful not to have a check on unethical behavior.
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    Yes. A resounding yes. Undoubtedly, trump would veto such legislation, but it has my full support. Go for it.
    Like (24)
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    Anything to put 45 in his place and do the people’s work not his own
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    Trump will never sign it. You will need someone with ethics and morality.
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    The swamp needs to checked and drained before t huh e orange buffoon drains the poor people's pockets even more.
    Like (16)
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    I’m in favor of all these. The executive branch obviously needs reining in after continuous expansion of power over the decades. Trump has just shown how bad it is to have that much power in one person.
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    Badly needed legislation. The past 2 years have taught us that policies that many Americans thought were laws were merely traditions observed by sensible politicians.
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    Absolutely needed and I have zero expectations the party of trump will ever sign on to this!
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    Hope this gets a veto proof number of votes.
    Like (15)
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    Obviously, we need this. We have needed this for a long time. We have had politicians in all parties take advantage of our lax morals and ethics rules for politicians for a long time.
    Like (14)
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    Ethics is the key to success and to be able to deliver what the Constitution and the Bill of Rights says every American Citizen is entitled to.
    Like (13)
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    Good government is transparent, so we can all see it's free of corruption and outside influences. We need strong reform to ensure transparency so the people know who is really representing them. If we are ok with foreign powers and corporate executives running the country behind the scenes, then we're not a true democracy.
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