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Government Ethics
(Danielle Brian)

Danielle Brian is executive director at the Project On Government Oversight.

Meet the reformer: Danielle Brian, a dean of the watchdogs

Danielle Brian is executive director of the Project On Government Oversight, a nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates corruption, misconduct and conflicts of interest in the federal government. A South Florida native and National FOIA Hall of Fame member, Brian has testified before Congress more than 40 times in the 27 years she's been leading the organization, which goes by the memorable acronym POGO. She returned to the group and took the reins in 1993 after interning there a decade earlier. Her answers have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

What's the tweet-length description of your organization?

@POGOBlog is a nonpartisan watchdog that fights to fix the federal government. We investigate corruption, abuse of power and when the government silences whistleblowers. We champion reforms to achieve a more effective, ethical and accountable federal government that safeguards constitutional principles.

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Balance of Power
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President Trump is fighting multiple battles to prevent access to his tax returns

More twists in multilevel fight by the House to get Trump's tax returns

The House of Representatives is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by President Trump seeking to prevent the House's majority Democrats from getting their hands on the president's New York tax returns.

The request by the House late Monday is the latest volley in what's arguably, besides impeachment, the most consequential current balance-of-powers fight between the legislative and executive branches.

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Government Ethics
True
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"The issue at hand is whether Trump committed crimes grave enough to warrant his removal from office," writes Erica Etelson.

The one question every American can ask themselves about impeachment

Etelson is a member of Better Angels, a citizens group fighting political polarization, and the author of "Beyond Contempt: How Liberals Can Communicate Across the Great Divide."

In my one-year retrospective last month on the Supreme Court confirmation hearings, I observed that partisan bias played a huge role in whether one believed nominee Brett Kavanaugh or Christine Blasey Ford. Extreme partisan disparity is evident once again in public opinion polls concerning impeachment.

Eighty-seven percent of Democrats and 23 percent of Republicans approve of Congress launching an impeachment inquiry, according to a September 26-27 YouGov poll commissioned by CBS News. Likewise, when asked whether Trump's handling of Ukraine is "typical — a thing most presidents do" or "unusual — something few have done," 71 percent of Republicans but just 15 percent of Democrats say it is typical.

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Government Ethics
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A 2017 investigation of FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub for potentially unethical behavior determined she had not violated federal rules.

Congressman calls for repeat ethics investigation into FEC chairwoman

This article has been updated following an interview with Weintraub.

Federal Election Commission Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub has been accused of ethical violations that had been previously leveled — and dismissed — two years ago.

In a series of tweets on Thursday, Weintraub responded to a letter sent that same day by Rep. Rodney Davis, ranking member of the House Administration Committee, requesting an investigation into Weintraub for potential violations of federal ethics regulations.

"It's a retread on a complaint made two years ago by a Koch Brother-funded group," Weintraub told The Fulcrum on Friday afternoon. The inspector general's office looked into it and didn't find any evidence. It's the same stuff all over again."

Davis, a Republican from Illinois, outlined three reasons he believes FEC Inspector General Christopher Skinner should investigate Weintraub:

  1. Using government time and official FEC resources to publish her opinions on political matters.
  2. Discussing issues outside the purview of the FEC in national media appearances.
  3. Refusing to recuse herself from matters involving President Trump, despite a perceived bias against him and "apparent conflict of interest."
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