Chairwoman Maloney Joins Fellow House Democrats to Introduce Landmark Reforms Package, the Protecting Our Democracy Act
Washington, D.C. (Sept. 23, 2020)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, joined fellow House Chairs and Speaker Nancy Pelosi to introduce the Protecting Our Democracy Act.
Below are Chairwoman Maloney’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
Watch Chairwoman Maloney’s remarks.
Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney
Committee on Oversight and Reform
September 23, 2020
Good morning. I’m proud to be here with my colleagues today to introduce the Protecting Our Democracy Act.
Former Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings often said, “we are in a fight for the soul of our democracy.”
We have lost more than 200,000 lives due to this Administration’s failure of leadership to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
We are witnessing a president who retaliates against whistleblowers and inspectors general, obstructs investigations to root out waste, fraud, and abuse, and openly mocks the law.
It must stop. We have an obligation to take immediate action to rein in this egregious behavior.
This landmark legislation will strengthen protections for Inspectors General by only allowing an IG to be removed for specific reasons and prevent them from being fired for political retaliation.
I introduced the Inspector General Independence Act with Majority Leader Hoyer and several other Members after President Trump retaliated against Inspectors General at the Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, State Department, and other agencies.
This package also increases protections for whistleblowers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse.
The Trump Administration has engaged in a sustained assault on whistleblowers.
Federal workers have been harassed, fired, and demoted.
I introduced the Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act, along with Oversight Subcommittee Chair Gerry Connolly to give whistleblowers the opportunity to challenge retaliation in court and prohibit disclosing a whistleblower’s identity.
Whistleblowers helped our Committee expose abuses in the White House security clearance process, the Administration’s nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia, and investigations into ethics abuses by Administration officials.
This package of reforms also closes loopholes that President Trump has exploited by installing unqualified people as acting agency heads and Inspectors General.
Finally, this bill helps ensure that the line between official business and political activity is not erased.
The Trump Administration has openly mocked and violated the Hatch Act. For example, former senior advisor Kellyanne Conway broke the law dozens of times and the Office of the Special Counsel recommended that she be fired.
President Trump refused to act.
Recently, he used the White House and other federal landmarks for partisan political purposes during the Republican National Convention.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said, quote, “Nobody outside the Beltway really cares about the Hatch Act.”
He is wrong. Taxpayers care. They expect their money to be used for legitimate government activities and not for partisan political campaigning.
The Protecting our Democracy Act authorizes the Office of Special Counsel to fine political appointees up to $50,000 if they break the law and the President refuses to hold them accountable.
This bill ensures that no one is above the law and all employees are held accountable for their actions.