Donate
News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.
MOST READ
Get some leverage.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter.

Open Government
Pool/Getty Images

Claim: The President may sign an executive order limiting freedom of speech. Fact check: Mixed


The president can issue an executive on anything he wants, but its impact and legality is a question. Trump signed an executive order that could limit social media companies' legal protections after Twitter began fact-checking on his posts.

According to The Washington Post, lawmakers in Congress and a variety of legal experts from across the political spectrum "doubted the legality of Trump's draft proposal and feared its implications for free speech."

Some in the tech industry even began quietly discussing their legal options, including a potential lawsuit challenging Trump's order, the Post reported.

Open Government
Fred Schilling / Supreme Court

The Supreme Court's next oral arguments will be the first using a live audio feed for the public.

Covid consequence: Supreme Court will let you listen in live

The Supreme Court finally decided to move cautiously into the 20th century on Monday, announcing that several of its next oral arguments will be broadcast live.

The notoriously opaque court revealed the history-making change in a brief news release explaining plans to break with several precedents during the coronavirus outbreak.

The decision is by far the biggest win for government transparency advocates brought about by Covid-19, which has so far been cited much more often for pushing state and local governments to conduct emergency business in the relative shadows.

Keep reading... Show less
Open Government
True
Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump "made an apparent attempt to undermine the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee when he replaced the acting inspector general who had been named to lead it," writes POGO's Danielle Brian.

It's more clear now than ever: Inspectors general need stronger protections

Brian is executive director of the Project On Government Oversight, a nonpartisan group that investigates misconduct and conflicts of interest by federal officials.

Government oversight is under attack right now.

In just a few days last week, President Trump removed an inspector general for doing his job, stalled operations of the new Pandemic Response Accountability Committee and attacked an acting inspector general for releasing a report that he didn't like. These actions undermined all IGs across the federal government — the independent government watchdogs charged with investigating federal agencies and departments and holding their behavior accountable.

Trump's actions exposed just how vulnerable inspectors general are, making clear that greater independence is needed. Inspectors general currently serve at the pleasure of the president, and one perceived misstep can cost an IG their job, as we saw when Trump fired Michael Atkinson as inspector general for the intelligence community.

Keep reading... Show less
Open Government

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discusses oversight of the stimulus fund dispersal.

Big transparency win in stimulus package undercut by Trump administration

Open government advocates and Democratic leaders in Congress are angry the Trump administration seems to be walking away from crucial transparency language in the economic stabilization package.

Aside from the funds to make voting safer and more convenient this fall, the democracy reform movement was pleased most by a provision in the law creating an independent watchdog to oversee a $500 billion fund to bail out companies crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.

But after signing the $2 trillion package last week, President Trump signaled he would decide what this inspector general could share with the public and Congress. And when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sought Sunday to dispel concerns about government accountability in administering the biggest domestic economic relief package in American history, he refused to pledge that the IG would be permitted to testify on Capitol Hill.

Keep reading... Show less