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The Brennan Center is fighting to renew America’s longstanding commitment to the rule of law and ensure that government officials serve the public interest.

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Why It Matters

The Trump administration laid bare many longstanding vulnerabilities and opportunities for abuse of power in our system of governance. Unchecked presidential conflicts of interest, interference from the White House in cases at the Justice Department, politically motivated meddling in scientific research at environmental and public health agencies, and the subversion of the confirmation process for political appointees are among the abuses we have catalogued across presidential administrations.

In almost every case, the only safeguards against these abuses are unwritten rules. Now is the time to reinforce these guardrails and restore public trust in government. To that end, the Brennan Center convened a task force of former senior government offi­cials who have served in both Republican and Democratic presidential administrations to advise on a comprehensive agenda for legislative action to uphold the rule of law. The task force’s report calling for robust executive action to ensure that government officials serve the public interest.


Establish Durable Safeguards to Uphold the Rule of Law

Congress should pass the key reforms in the Protecting Our Democracy Act. These would be important steps toward preventing presidents and other executive branch officials from abusing their power by making it possible to enforce the Constitution’s emoluments clauses, making it more difficult for the White House to interfere in federal law enforcement at the Department of Justice, and bringing much-needed transparency to the presidential pardon process.

Modernize Ethics Rules

Congress should pass comprehensive ethics reforms to, among other things, improve ethics disclosure rules (including requiring presidential tax return disclosure) and strengthen the Office of Government Ethics.

Stop Politicization of Science in the Policymaking Process

Congress should pass the Scientific Integrity Act, which would mandate crucial across-the-board scientific integrity standards and require agencies to have appropriate rules, procedures, and safeguards in place to ensure sound science-based policymaking.

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