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Congressman John Sarbanes

Representing the 3rd District of Maryland

In The News

Jun 8, 2017

Congressman John Sarbanes, Senator Chris Van Hollen and a host of other federal elected officials say they have a bone to pick with President Donald Trump…. Sarbanes, the chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force claims the new presidential administration is very good at avoiding information requests and he has outlined dozens if not hundreds of instances where the administration has simply ignored information requests…. “The Trump administration’s refusal to respond to basic information requests . . . is an assault on our Constitutional system of checks and balances,” Sarbanes said…. Sarbanes says there is a bit of partisan rancor to the administration’s inability to answer inquiries and at the same time believes the president is not only overwhelmed and understaffed, but inadequately staffed to boot…. “I’m still waiting for a plan in any traditional sense on any issue,” Sarbanes said Tuesday. “This entire administration is a series of giant head fakes.” 

Jun 6, 2017

House Democrats pushed the Trump administration on Monday to acknowledge officially if it has instated a new policy not to respond to oversight requests from Congress unless they are signed by senior Republicans…. The office of Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), who chairs a Democracy Reform Task Force, has tracked about 275 unanswered Democratic request letters since President Trump’s inauguration in January…. Sarbanes's office tallied 118 unanswered oversight requests from three days after the inauguration to March 17 alone.

Jun 2, 2017

In Congress, I wrote and introduced the Government by the People Act (H.R. 20), a bipartisan bill with more than 150 co-sponsors and backed by more than 50 national membership organizations. H.R. 20 would help reduce the power of wealthy special interests in Washington and return power to the American people, where it belongs, by implementing a citizen-owned election system similar to the proposal in Howard County. In today’s political climate, the Government by the People Act faces several hurdles. But having examples to showcase, including the system being developed in Howard County, would send a powerful message to members of Congress that citizen-owned elections are a viable and potent antidote to the ills of big-money politics…. Across the country, Americans of all political stripes have vented their frustration with the corrosive nature of big money in politics and with the undue influence that wealthy and well-connected donors have over our government. Howard County has an opportunity to lead the charge for citizen-owned elections and become a model for state and local jurisdictions around the country that want a return to government of, by and for the people.

May 25, 2017

“I’m not yet seeing any significant willingness, readiness, to push on the administration to be more accountable,” says House Democrat John Sarbanes, of Maryland, of his GOP colleagues. “But I think there’s a kind of cumulative effect of things here. And there will come a tipping point where Republican members of Congress will no longer be able to defend the lack of accountability that this White House seems to operate with.”

May 24, 2017

President Donald Trump isn't draining the swamp in Washington. He's shrouding it in a veil of secrecy and pumping in more slime…. Congress needs to step in. The level of potential conflicts posed by Mr. Trump's business holdings and his utter lack of concern for the ethical standards presidents of both parties have honored are mind boggling. Eighteen House Democrats, led by Rep. Elijah Cummings and including Maryland's Jamie Raskin and John Sarbanes, sent a letter to Mr. Shaub last week supporting his effort and urging him to publicly post whatever documents he receives, but the Republicans who control Congress need to use their authority to ensure the administration complies with the requests.

May 23, 2017

Maryland Rep. John Sarbanes, D-3rd, says the Trump presidency presents "a maximum stress test for the democracy," with numerous conflicts of interest and now a "draconian" federal budget that could be "cataclysmic to the core functions of government." Sarbanes, chair of the House Democrats' newly created Democracy Reform Task Force, says Trump, with his cabinet and other appointments, has "filled the swamp" with former lobbyists and industry lawyers. "There's a fox in charge of every hen house now," he says. "They're locking the doors, pulling down the shades and ransacking the place." 

May 23, 2017

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the so-called soft money ban on state and local parties, prompting opponents of the restriction to turn their pleas for repeal to Congress. … “By rejecting the challenge to political party soft money bans, the Supreme Court has once again affirmed contribution limits as constitutional,” said Rep. John Sarbanes of Maryland, chairman of the House’s Democracy Reform Task Force. “Going forward, we must remain vigilant against efforts to further erode reasonable restrictions on big money in politics.” Sarbanes and outside advocates of new restrictions on political money said they were dismayed that Gorsuch, along with conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, went out of his way to say he wanted the court to hear oral arguments on the Louisiana case.

May 15, 2017

Trump presents a uniquely target-rich environment, Democrats say.... "By the time we get to January of 2019, I expect there'd be just treasure troves of things to investigate," said Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., a member of the Oversight Committee who also chairs his party's Democracy Reform Task Force, which was established to catalog Trump ethical issues until the party has the power to act on them.... "We'll definitely be ready if we can get the gavel," Sarbanes said.

May 10, 2017

Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation are expressing concerns over the timing and the process that led President Donald Trump to fire now-former FBI director James Comey…. From calling for emergency congressional hearings to forming an independent commission to investigate potential ties between members of the Trump administration to Russia, many of Maryland’s representatives are calling for a more transparent process… Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Baltimore City), chairman of the Democracy Reform Task Force, released the following statement: “President Trump’s sudden decision to fire Director Comey raises the legitimate question of whether the Trump administration intends to interfere with an ongoing FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia…. “This latest development will only further erode the public’s trust in the Trump Justice Department and will test our country’s systems of checks and balances. That’s why it is more important than ever for Congress to establish an independent, bipartisan commission – which many of my Democratic colleagues and I called for back in March -– to investigate allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to undermine the 2016 election.”