Donald Trump is out of power—but the threat of presidential abuse of power remains.
Let’s rewind the clock a few decades. After Watergate, Congress passed reforms that placed urgently-needed restrictions and checks on the Executive Branch. It was a common-sense response to the most dramatic abuse of presidential power in American history to date, but it wasn’t enough.
Trump went further than even Nixon in breaching ethics norms and abusing presidential power—and the Protecting Our Democracy Act would address the clear threats to our democracy exposed by his actions. It’s a comprehensive bill that addresses issues ranging from abuse of presidential pardons to profiting from the presidency.
We can’t let Trump’s abuse of power fade from memory—because it could very well happen again.
During his administration we saw blatant examples of abuse, such as profiting from the presidency, demanding foreign election interference, consistently obstructing and undermining Congress, treating the DOJ like his personal attorney, and abusing the pardon power.
Why was this such a consistent theme of the Trump administration? The problem is not just that Trump was willing to abuse his power—it’s that Congress was often powerless to prevent it. Trump was able to exploit weakness in our legal system to carry out his corrupt, personal agenda, and without reform, this will surely happen again in the future.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress should be able to agree that Congress must be an effective check on the presidency. No president, regardless of party, should be able to obstruct and undermine the people’s representatives in Congress or exploit weaknesses in our political system to pursue corrupt, personal agendas.
Unless we take action now, future administrations could get away with similar abuses of power—or worse. That’s where the Protecting Our Democracy Act comes in.
The Protecting Our Democracy Act would ensure that no president is above the law by prohibiting self-serving pardons, preventing presidents from profiting from office, and ensuring presidents can be prosecuted for wrongdoing. It would protect the Department of Justice from political interference from the White House and defend our elections against foreign interference by enhancing criminal penalties for seeking support from foreign actors. The bill would limit presidential emergency powers, disclose presidential tax returns, and help depoliticize the transition from one president to the next.
These reforms would help ensure that the White House is a place for serving the interests of the American people, not a place for self-enrichment or handing out “get out of jail free cards” to oneself or others.
The Path to Winning
The Protecting Our Democracy Act is exactly the kind of comprehensive reform that this moment demands.
The Trump administration showed the incredible damage that a corrupt administration can unleash. Defending our democracy and preventing future abuses of executive power should be a top priority for members of both parties. And we have a real chance to pass this legislation with bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress and have President Biden sign it into law in 2021. But only if we fight for it.
The first step is demanding the House of Representatives pass the bill. Call your representative now.