CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz
202-408-5565 | [email protected]

Following the introduction by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Representative John Sarbanes of the For the People Act of 2019 as the first piece of House legislation in the 116th Congress, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Executive Director Noah Bookbinder released the following statement:

“Today’s introduction of H.R. 1 marks the beginning of an effort to restore the promise of our democracy. Reducing the negative influence of money in politics, addressing the current crisis of ethics in government, as well as protecting elections and the rights of voters are all necessary components of this project, the most important one any Congress can tackle.

The bold reforms in H.R. 1 that would fix broken enforcement systems, including the Office of Government Ethics and the Federal Election Commission, are particularly welcome. If we have learned anything from the ethics crisis of the last two years and the many ongoing fights for effective campaign finance disclosure that CREW and others have waged in the years since Citizens United, it is that effectively enforcing rules is as important as having good rules. In this regard, the For the People Act of 2019 is a ringing message to America’s citizens and allies that our politicians have not abandoned their commitment to our democracy.

On other issues, the proposals in H.R. 1 must go further. Presidents and Vice-Presidents in the future must be prevented from committing President Trump’s original ethics sin: continuing to own his businesses while in office. That decision has resonated throughout his administration, creating constant risks that the President’s own decision-making will be affected by his financial interests; exposing thousands of federal government employees to corruption risks as they are forced to interact with his businesses; and setting a tone from the top that has allowed his cabinet members and other senior appointees, including his own relatives, to ignore their own ethical obligations. We stand ready to work with Congress to ensure that forceful provisions prohibiting this conduct going forward are included in the legislation.

H.R. 1 is a tremendous step in the right direction, and we look forward to working with Congress to strengthen the bill further as they consider it.”

CREW is part of the Declaration for American Democracy coalition, a nonpartisan collaboration of more than one hundred and ten local, state and national organizations committed to delivering the bold reforms to our democracy that the public is demanding. You can learn more about the Declaration for American Democracy here.