January 29, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu, Congressman David Cicilline, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and Congressman Ruben Gallego announced they are introducing the Restoring the Public Trust Act of 2019. The bill package incorporates a number of pieces of legislation aimed at strengthening ethical standards in the federal government to prevent government corruption and ensure accountability for the American public.

Upon introduction, the Members said:

“Trump and his administration have made a mockery of government ethics, demonstrating the weak spots in our current laws. He has normalized unethical behavior in a way that was once unthinkable, proving that we need stronger ethics laws. The damage that Trump has done to the public’s confidence in its government won’t be easy to fix but this bill ensures that those gaping holes in our anticorruption and ethics laws are addressed. In doing so, we will course correct our government to ensure it is working for the people, which is a key Democratic priority this Congress. The Restoring the Public Trust Act helps us do the critical work of rebuilding the public’s faith in government.”

The Restoring the Public Trust Act is endorsed By: American Oversight; Campaign for Accountability, Common Cause and Public Citizen.

The bill will include the following provisions:

TITLE I: Draining the Swamp

The SWAMP Act: The President must reimburse the Treasury Department for taxpayer dollars spent at properties in which he has a financial stake, like Mar-a-Lago.

The SWAMP FLYERS Act: Prohibits the use of federal funds for the official travel of a senior political appointee on a non-commercial, private, or chartered flight unless they certify – under penalty of perjury – that no alternative flight was available.

The E. Scott Pruitt Accountability for Government Officials Act: Creates a federal criminal penalty for use of public office for private gain, endorsement of products, or aiding family and friends for corrupt purposes.

CORRUPT Act: The head of each agency must submit to the Office of Government Ethics a report on the amount expended by that agency to any property owned by the President or his family.

RIGGED Act: Makes the federal nepotism laws applicable to the Executive Office of the President.   

DRAIN the Swamp Act: The head of each agency must submit to the Comptroller General an assessment of any regulatory conflict of interest pertaining to the President and various senior advisors that might arise from an agency’s rule.

TITLE II: Rooting Out Conflicts of Interest

CLEARANCES Act (COMMONSENSE LEGISLATION ENSURING ACCOUNTABILITY BY REPORTING ACCESS OF NON-CLEARED EMPLOYEES TO SECRETS): The White House must report to Congress when it grants a security clearance in contravention of an unfavorable clearance recommendation, in part to prevent dangerous and heavily indebted individuals from entering the most sensitive positions in government.

Blind Trusts: Requires members of the President’s Cabinet and certain senior White House advisors to place stocks, bonds, commodities futures, other forms of securities in a blind trust during their tenure.

Preventing domestic emoluments: Prohibits any business interest owned in whole or in part by the President or Vice President, his/her spouse, or immediate family member from doing business with the federal government.

Presidential Tax Transparency Act: Requires all candidates for President to release their tax returns for the past three years.

No more shadow White House meetings: Require the White House to maintain a publicly accessible website that includes data on visitor logs.

TITLE III: Strengthening Our Inspectors General

Protecting our inspectors general: Requires notification to Congress of a president’s decision to place an agency inspector general – whose job is to root out waste, fraud, and corruption – on leave or to change their status in any way.

Filling empty inspector general positions: Requires the President report to Congress if he or she fails to nominate an Inspector General for a given agency, including a target date for making a formal recommendation.