Washington— The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) should further investigate claims of the Trump administration’s attacks on democratic institutions ahead of the election, according to a letter sent to Committee Chairman Senator Ron Johnson by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The Trump administration’s anti-democratic tactics include President Trump endangering the health and safety of Secret Service agents for a political photo opportunity while seeking treatment for COVID-19, ending the 2020 Census nearly a month early and politicizing the US Postal Service to undermine voting by mail amidst a global pandemic. The president’s personal and political preferences have taken precedence over traditional policies and safeguards that were put in place to protect the safety and security of the American people from both the pandemic and flagrant abuses of power. HSGAC’s  primary role in the Senate is overseeing government operations, and Chairman Johnson should exercise his power to investigate valid claims of abuse from the president and his officials. 

“From disregarding his own administration’s pandemic precautions for political photo ops to installing donors and loyalists in important government positions to manipulate democratic institutions, President Trump continues to misuse government resources to further his electoral goals. It is unacceptable that the Senate is rushing to confirm a Supreme Court nominee while general election voting is already underway, but failing to conduct robust oversight of the President’s reckless attacks on our democracy,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “If Chairman Johnson is willing and able to return to Washington to vote for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, then he can and should also hold hearings investigating the President’s abuse of the Postal Service, the Census and the Secret Service for his political gain.” 

In July, CREW and Common Cause Wisconsin sent a letter to Johnson requesting oversight hearings into attempts by the USPS and Department of Homeland Security to suppress voter participation and intimidate people exercising their First Amendment rights. Following the pressure from these organizations, HSGAC held a hearing with DeJoy to examine dramatic policy and procedural changes to USPS operations during his short tenure, including those that would undermine the American public’s ability to vote by mail. 

“The Trump administration continues to escalate its undemocratic actions, and Senator Johnson must be willing to do his part to ensure the Senate plays its constitutional role in our system of checks and balances,” said Bookbinder. “Without transparency and oversight into the political manipulation and reckless behavior at the highest levels of our government, our democratic institutions will continue to slip away.”