FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 31, 2017
Contact: Daniel Stevens, 202.780.5750, email@example.com
WASHIGNTON D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), asked the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to immediately open an investigation into whether unnamed employees of the House Judiciary Committee broke any federal laws or House rules by helping President-elect Trump draft his executive order limiting immigration from seven Muslim majority countries.
CfA Acting Executive Director Daniel E. Stevens stated, “Employees of the United States House of Representatives are duty-bound to serve Members of Congress and the Americans who elected them. It appears that these House staffers surreptitiously worked on issues for the President-elect, and perhaps later the White House, without even telling the members for whom they worked. The OCE should open an investigation immediately and determine whether these staffers broke any federal laws or House rules.”
On January 30, 2017, Politico reported that several House Judiciary Committee professional staff members had helped the Trump transition team draft an executive order limiting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. The paper also reported that the staffers signed nondisclosure agreements with the transition team, and that they did not inform the Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) or House Leadership about their work on the controversial measure.
Federal law and House rules require House staffers to work on House business and to “give a full day’s labor for a full day’s pay.” Moreover, House rules specifically state that lawyers are prohibited from consulting and advising clients beyond the House of Representatives to avoid conflicts of interest. Given that many staffers of the House Judiciary Committee are lawyers, the staffers that worked on this order may have run afoul of several laws and House rules.
Stevens continued, “The House Judiciary Committee is supposed to exercise oversight of executive branch immigration policy. As inconvenient as it may be to the Trump administration, there are still three branches of government. Unfortunately, these staffers seemed intent on merging two of them. OCE should investigate and expose the details of this relationship, which undermines the independence of Congress.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.