Watchdog group forms to “track Trump’s ethics”

A group of lawyers and the founder of a watchdog group have teamed up to create an organization to track the Trump administration’s ethics, expose potential conflicts, and any missteps, reports The Hill.

The organization, known as “American Oversight,” claims to be nonpartisan despite some founders having ties to the Democratic party. On Monday, the group announced in a press release that it aims to use litigation and open records laws under the Freedom of Information Act “to uncover and publicize information about malfeasance and corruption by administration officials.”

The announcement read:

“Congress has abdicated its constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities of the executive branch — from failing to vet individuals before they take office to explicitly refusing to investigate conflicts of interest and misconduct.”

Austin Evers, a State Department lawyer under Obama and now executive director of American Oversight, said in a statement, “We were very troubled to see in the wake of the election all the red flags going up about how this executive branch was going to be run, and how Congress was reacting, which was essentially to put its head in the sand or only act when really forced to do so over egregious matters.”

“Right now, there’s a perfect storm of corruption and scandal brewing. President Trump is creating a culture of impunity across his administration and yet Congress refuses to fulfill its constitutional responsibility of conducting oversight,” said Evers. She also intimated that they are going to be “using the tools available to citizens to extract information about corruption, about how money’s being misspent, about how rules aren’t being followed and publicize it so at minimum, voters can hold their government accountable.”

One of the first projects American Oversight plans to address is whether “federal record-keeping laws are being broken with the reported use of non-governmental messaging apps for official purposes,” reports The Hill.

As such, the watchdog dog has called on the Justice Department and the National Archives and Records Administration to investigate how the Trump administration is using these apps and to determine if their use is violating the Federal Records Act and the Presidential Records Act, says the report.

Melanie Sloan, who will serve as one of American Oversight’s senior advisers, stated that the watchdog group plans to “hold the administration accountable by filling the void left by Congress. She added, “Americans across the political spectrum demand an ethical government. If Congress won’t do its job and investigate wrongdoing, we will.”

H/T: The Hill

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