News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.
The State of Reform
Download Unite America’s free report
Download Unite America's free report analyzing the impact of four key political reforms.

Government Accountability Institute

Our mission is to investigate and expose crony capitalism, misuse of taxpayer monies, and other governmental corruption or malfeasance.
News. Community. Debate. Levers for better democracy.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter.

Claim: Coronavirus relief package includes nearly $2 billion for new FBI headquarters. Fact check: True

A GOP-proposed, roughly $1 trillion coronavirus relief bill includes nearly $2 billion for a new FBI headquarters.

The new headquarters has been in the works for over a decade. Proponents of the funding say that the FBI has been helpful in fighting increased crime due to Covid-19 and cyber breaches against new vaccines. But opponents say the funding is not directly related to Covid-19 and that the Trump administration has something to gain by keeping the headquarters in downtown Washington, near a Trump hotel, rather than it's proposed move to a suburb of Maryland or Virginia.

And many Senate Republicans have uncharacteristically parted with the Trump administration to rebuke the request.

Keep reading... Show less
Balance of Power
Olivier Doulier/Getty Images

Democracy reform advocates sent a letter to those assembling former Vice President Joe Biden's platform, asking them to put reform proposals front and center.

Democracy reform groups to Biden: Don't you forget about us

Democracy reform advocates have gone public with a concern they've been harboring privately for months: Joe Biden and the Democrats are not making fix-the-system proposals a big enough part of their campaign.

A coalition of 29 groups pressed the party's platform committee on Monday "to adopt a sweeping pro-democracy set of reforms, and make their passage and implementation a top priority in 2021."

Although Biden is viewed as a reliable supporter of items on the group's agenda — expanding voting rights, curbing money's sway over campaigns, bolstering government ethics and calibrating the balance of power — the former vice president is seen by advocacy groups as giving such desires insufficient notice. With the campaign now galvanized by the coronavirus pandemic and its crippling of the economy, the ability of other issues to break through could prove extremely difficult.

Keep reading... Show less
Government Ethics

Claim: Ivanka Trump violated an ethics rule by promoting Goya products. Fact check: True.

White House adviser and presidential daughter Ivanka Trump posted a photo of herself holding a can of Goya black beans on Twitter last week, including the caption in both English and Spanish: "If it's Goya, it has to be good." The post came after intense criticism of the brand from consumers and Hispanic leaders after CEO Robert Unanue praised President Trump in a Rose Garden event. Unanue said the country is "truly blessed" to have a leader like Trump.

Trump later posted a similar image of him with an array of Goya products sitting on the Resolute Desk. Both of these posts were in direct response to the blowback from Unanue's statements.

Ivanka Trump likely violated a misuse of position ethics guideline that prohibits executive branch employees from using their status to endorse commercial products: "An employee's position or title should not be used to coerce; to endorse any product, service or enterprise; or to give the appearance of governmental sanction." The president is generally exempt from such rules.

Walter Shaub, the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, asserted that because Ivanka has her official title in her Twitter bio, the endorsement and her executive branch position are strongly linked and make the violation more probable.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

The advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) filed an ethics complaint against Ivanka on Friday. "This is not just about beans; it's another example of a disturbing pattern of this administration acting to benefit the businesses of the president's supporters," CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.

© Issue One. All rights reserved.