Sarbanes Statement in Response to Unprecedented Trump Administration Policy to Ignore Information Requests from Congressional Democrats

Trump Policy is a Fundamental Assault on Constitutional System of Checks and Balances
June 2, 2017
CONTACT: Daniel Jacobs
(202) 225-4016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) released the following statement in response to recent press reports confirming that the Trump Administration is directing all federal agencies to largely ignore information requests from Democrats in Congress. Congressman Sarbanes led an audit of unanswered letters from Congressional Democrats to the Trump Administration.

“The Trump Administration’s refusal to respond to basic information requests from Democrats in Congress is an assault on our Constitutional system of checks and balances. For months, the Democracy Reform Task Force had been tracking letters sent to the Trump Administration that have received no response, fearing that a ‘gag-order’ had been implemented by President Trump. Now we know definitively that President Trump and his Administration have adopted a policy that expressly undermines the authority of duly elected Representatives of the people to conduct basic oversight of the Executive Branch.

“This is not normal. If the shoe were on the other foot, we know our Republican colleagues would be incensed. Keeping in mind the pendulum of political power swings back and forth, I call on my Republican colleagues to stand up and ask for the Administration to reconsider this wrongheaded policy.”

The Trump Administration directive comes on the heels of a recently released Department of Justice policy directive that argues only the Majority party – currently Republicans – has the Constitutional authority to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. The Trump “gag-order” is a significant departure from past administrations, Republican and Democrat alike.

See here for a list of unanswered House letters from January 23 through March 17, 2017.

See here for a list of unanswered House letters from March 2017.

See here for a list of unanswered letter from April 2017.