Common Cause Urges “Yes” Vote on Protecting Our Democracy Act to Curb Abuses of Power by Future Presidents

Common Cause is urging every member of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote “yes” in support of the Protecting Our Democracy Act (H.R. 5314), in order to provide greater checks and balances to the vast powers of the presidency in the wake of the unprecedented abuses of those powers by the administration of Donald Trump. The letter, sent yesterday to every Member of the House, emphasizes that the proposed legislation will create new mechanisms for transparency and accountability that will apply to all future presidents, regardless of their political party. The letter also notes that Common Cause plans to key-vote this legislation in our Democracy Scorecard, which we send to our 1.5 million members.

“No one in our nation is above the law, not even the President. But the presidency of Donald Trump made it alarmingly clear that Congress must strengthen the guardrails on the vast powers of our nation’s highest office,” said Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn. “The Trump administration laid bare the fact that there were expectations and well-established norms for U.S. presidents but that our laws were insufficient in themselves to check broad abuses of the powers of the presidency.”

The letter stresses that under the Protecting Our Democracy Act, future presidents would be expressly prohibited from harnessing the powers of the presidency to target their political opponents, dangle self-serving pardons, and enrich themselves. The bill includes provisions to strengthen protections for federal whistleblowers and inspectors general, promote orderly presidential transitions between administrations, strengthen the Hatch Act, and protect the Justice Department from political interference from the White House. It establishes a duty upon campaigns to report foreign interference in elections, and requires the president, vice president, and major party candidates to make public recent tax returns. The bill also provides new tools to Congress to efficiently enforce subpoenas.

The letter notes that the Protecting Our Democracy Act has been introduced during the administrations of Presidents of both major parties and that it will ensure that every future president is accountable for their actions. The letter calls for the swift passage of the Protecting Our Democracy Act, to ensure that the president can be held accountable, just like every other American.

We commend Chairman Adam Schiff for his leadership championing this bill, as well as Chairperson Zoe Lofgren, Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, Chairman John Yarmuth, Chairman Peter DeFazio, and Chairman Jerry Nadler for their work in crafting and refining their respective components of the legislation.

Earlier this year, Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn testified at a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing examining reforms to the presidential pardon power—a key component of the Protecting Our Democracy Act.


To read the full letter, click here.