The Protecting Our Democracy Act Will Curb Abuses of Power by Future Presidents

Statement of Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause President

No American is above the law, not even the President. But the abuses we witnessed during Donald Trump’s presidency made it very clear that Congress must strengthen the guardrails on the vast powers of our nation’s highest office. The former administration’s actions exposed and exploited a gulf between well-established norms of presidential power and the laws that govern. The Protecting Our Democracy Act will provide greater checks and balances to the powers of the presidency while creating new mechanisms for transparency and accountability.

This comprehensive legislation will curb the rampant abuses of power we saw during the Trump years. Future presidents will not be able to harness 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 American people expect and deserve accountability from their President. The Protecting Our Democracy Act has now been introduced during the administrations of both major parties and will ensure that every president is accountable for their actions. We commend Chairman Adam Schiff for his leadership sponsoring and introducing 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. We salute Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her leadership and initiative on this landmark rule-of-law package of reforms to bolster the resilience of democracy. This legislation represents a huge step forward for the people and for accountability in government and we urge its swift passage.

We will score this legislation in our next Democracy Scorecard.