Presidential Misconduct

A criminal sat in the Oval Office for four years, and though he is now gone it falls to Congress to hold him accountable for his wrongdoing. Congresswoman Speier encourages all Americans to read the Mueller Report. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found that then-candidate Donald Trump knowingly welcomed the assistance of Russians who were set on interfering in our elections with a widespread social media campaign sowing disinformation and division and a criminal hack-and-dump targeting the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton Campaign.

Congresswoman Speier has long advocated for oversight into foreign adversaries’ interference in our political process. Even before the Mueller Report, there was plenty of information suggesting deep financial ties between the Trump Organization and Russians and other reports that the Trump Organization was involved in dubious overseas ventures. Click here to learn more.

In addition to investigating coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians, the Special Counsel found irrefutable evidence that the former  president sought to obstruct justice and prevent a full investigation of the attack on our democracy from Russia. In fact, the Mueller investigation resulted in 37 indictments, 7 convictions or guilty pleas, and findings of 10 possible instances of obstruction of justice. While the Office of the Special Counsel believed it could not indict a sitting president due to Justice Department policy, it provided Congress with plenty of evidence to do its job and proceed with an impeachment inquiry. No one is above the law, even and especially the President or a former president.

As a Member of the House Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in the 116th Congress, Congresswoman Speier has been engaged in investigations into Russian influence and President Trump’s misconduct. She believes that Congress must use all available tools, including subpoenas and its powers of contempt, to force the Executive Branch to cooperate in legitimate congressional investigations into financial misconduct, election interference, obstruction of justice, cruel family separation policies, malicious attempts to add a citizenship question to the U.S. Census, White House personnel use of personal communications for official business, among many other instances of troubling misconduct during the previous administration.

In addition to holding the former president and his accomplices accountable, these investigations will enable Congress to pass legislation to improve the quality of government. Indeed, the findings of the Mueller Report shed light on frightening vulnerabilities in our elections that need to be shored up. As Robert Mueller testified before the House Intelligence Committee, Russia and other nations were already at it again in regards to the following elections. In addition to holding accountable those who illegally disrupted the 2016 election, we must also be on guard to prevent similar interference in the future. (See [LINK to ELECTION SECURITY].)

Good Government & Oversight

Our public institutions are as good as the people that work within them and it is crucial that we have a highly qualified and motivated civil service workforce. Congresswoman Speier commends the service of the federal workforce and is active in measures to improve the standards in the government workplace and support the work that keeps our country running. To maintain trust and accountability, Congress must also engage in active oversight of the other branches of government and pass laws to improve transparency and enforce ethical standards. In her long legislative career in California and the U.S. Congress, Congresswoman Speier has dedicated herself to eradicating political corruption and rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse in government procurement and operations.

Eradicating the Scourge of Harassment in the Federal Workforce

Harassment and discrimination have no place in our taxpayer-funded federal workplaces and do a severe disservice to the important work of delivering for the American people. Congresswoman Speier is a champion of efforts to eradicate sexual harassment at the highest levels of government. In addition to leading the Me Too movement in Congress, she has led actions to address allegations of sexual harassment in the US Forest Service, the FBI Training Academy, the Defense Department, the State Department, and more. In 2019, Congresswoman Speier testified at a United States Commission on Civil Rights hearing on sexual harassment at the State Department and she will be introducing legislation to overhaul the Department’s practices. For more information on the Congresswoman’s efforts with the Me Too movement in Congress, please see LINK to Women’s Rights.

Eliminating Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

In her role on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the House Armed Services Committee, Congresswoman Speier prioritizes ensuring that taxpayer money is spent responsibly. She was a leader in the investigation of TransDigm, a military aircraft parts supplier that was found to have defrauded the government out of millions of dollars in an Inspector General report and in hearings before the House Oversight Committee. As a result of those efforts, TransDigm returned some “excess profits” to the government. Congresswoman Speier continues to fight to ensure that they return all of the excess profits owed and that other companies fraudulently milking the U.S. government pay up as well.

Maintaining Strong Government Ethics

From day one, the Trump Administration ran roughshod over government ethics rules. Through her role on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Congresswoman Speier is working to strengthen government ethics so that taxpayer-funded official activities are used in the best interests of the American people and that future presidents are not able to abuse the power of their office in that same fashion.

In response to the Office of Special Counsel’s formal recommendation to the former president to fire his senior advisor Kellyanne Conway for flagrant and repeated abuses of the Hatch Act, Congresswoman Speier introduced H.R.3499, the Presidential Appointee Accountability Act. The Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in certain partisan political activities, cannot be independently enforced against presidential appointees. The Presidential Appointee Accountability Act would empower the Office of Special Counsel, which enforces the Hatch Act and can terminate most federal employees for violating it, to bring Hatch Act claims against presidential appointees and hold them accountable with civil fines of up to $10,000 per violation. The legislation also would require the President to publicly explain personnel decisions regarding employees who are found to violate the Hatch Act.

In response to the Trump Administration’s repeated, blatant exploitation of loopholes in ethics rules governing the conduct of officials in the Office of the President and Vice President, Congresswoman Speier also introduced H.R. 1028, the RIGHT Act. The bill would clarify that anti-nepotism statutes apply to appointed positions in the President’s office, increase accountability and transparency for Hatch Act violations, and prevent federal officials or their families from improperly profiting from taxpayer funds, among other measures.

Congresswoman Speier has also been at the forefront of raising attention to the sexual exploitation of young girls by serial predator Jeffrey Epstein and demanding investigations into the government’s mishandling of Epstein’s molestation and sex-trafficking case. The 13-month sweetheart plea deal and nonprosecution agreement that former Secretary Alexander Acosta gave Epstein in Florida, and the gross negligence that resulted in Epstein committing suicide, demand answers and warrant Congressional oversight. We must give voice to the victims, whose rights were violated by being left in the dark. Congresswoman Speier sent a letter to the Oversight and Judiciary Committees requesting investigations, as well as letters to the former president calling for Acosta’s firing. She supports strengthening the Crime Victims Rights Act to ensure that this kind of violation of victims’ rights does not happen again.