CREW has requested General Services Administration records, including legal opinions or internal guidance on the process by which a GSA Administrator can ascertain “apparent successful candidates” for President and Vice President in a presidential election, and any communications GSA Administrator Emily Murphy and her senior leadership team may have had on this process.
On November 7, 2020, following the significant narrowing of uncounted votes in several swing states, media outlets projected that former Vice-President Joe Biden was the apparent winner of the 2020 presidential election. However, silence from the GSA, led by Trump appointee Emily Murphy, has failed to sign a letter which kicks off the post-Election Day presidential transition process including the dispersal of $9.9 million in funds for salaries and administrative support. Murphy’s decision has raised public alarm that the Trump administration is deliberately undermining a peaceful transfer of power. If the GSA fails to begin the process and release funds to roll in a new administration, or severely stalls these processes, the result could cause serious problems for government functions including the pandemic response and national security for the incoming administration.
For the last six months, the GSA and other government agencies have shown a total lack of transparency when it came to following a mandated timeline on presidential transition materials. In June amidst the raging coronavirus pandemic, the agencies failed to include any mention of how the transition would account for the ongoing pandemic, which CREW launched an investigation into. CREW also previously requested presidential transition documents from six agencies, and sued for them after receiving a woefully inadequate response.
The public needs to know how the GSA administers its critical role in the transition process and whether President Trump or his political appointees are manipulating federal resources and officials to undermine the transition and our democracy. In these uncertain times, there is no room for a president clinging onto power by using his appointed cronies to obstruct federal processes that are meant to protect our democracy and national security.