100 Days of Trump, 47 Days of American Oversight

Well, we made it.

It’s the 100th day of the Trump administration, and by basically any measure, this has already been one of the least-accountable, most-conflicted administrations in modern history.

American Oversight was launched (a little over 6 weeks ago) when it became apparent that Congress was not going to do its job and provide meaningful oversight of the executive branch.

Our mission is simple: hold the administration accountable to the American people. Using the Freedom of Information Act and other public records laws, we are working to uncover evidence of malfeasance, misconduct, or conflicts of interest. We will then make that information public and force Congress and others to take action.

While President Trump may not have accomplished very much in his first 100 days, here are the highlights of what American Oversight has been doing in our first 47 days.

  • Russia and Wiretapping: President Trump claimed that former President Obama “wiretapped” Trump Tower. The president has the authority to declassify information, so we took him at his word and filed FOIA requests for the records of those wiretaps. We’re now suing the Department of Justice and asking an independent judge to force the administration to give the public a straight answer. Here’s what NPR had to say about our lawsuit.
  • Audit the Wall: American Oversight is investigating President Trump’s initiative to build a wall between the United States and Mexico to learn how taxpayer money is being spent, whether the procurement process treats all American businesses fairly, and how the government is addressing environmental, worker safety, and border property owner concerns. Our goal: uncover tangible evidence of corruption.
  • Visitor Logs: The Trump White House announced that it would not continue President Obama’s practice of releasing White House visitor logs. American Oversight organized a letter from multiple groups, including the ACLU, CREW, and United to Protect Democracy, objecting to the policy change. The reporter who broke the story on the logs covered our letter, too.
  • Net Neutrality: This week, the new Chairman of the FCC announced that he plans to end net neutrality and roll back the rules that guarantee open and equal access to the internet. The future of the internet shouldn’t be decided in secret by a handful of lobbyists, so American Oversight has filed a FOIA to find out who the FCC has been meeting with and what they’re saying to the telecommunications industry.
  • Pesticide Pruitt: Within days of taking office, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt overruled his agency’s own scientists and decided to allow the continued use of a harmful pesticide known to cause neurological damage. We teamed up with the policy experts at the Environmental Working Group to investigate what role pesticide industry groups had in this decision.
  • Swamp Safari: Hardly a week has gone by without a news report of an administration official with an ethics problem. There are hundreds of new, political appointees across the government, and American Oversight has filed requests with key federal agencies to learn who these appointees are – and whether they are getting special waivers to work on policies that could benefit their former employers.
  • Health Care: President Trump’s declaration that “Obamacare will explode” raises real concerns about the administration’s conduct in enforcing existing health care law and its candor during the recent repeal negotiations with Congress. American Oversight is monitoring the enforcement of the ACA and has requested communications between the administration and Congress to learn what officials are really saying about health care reform.
  • Protecting Dissent: After Twitter filed suit to stop the Department of Homeland Security from unmasking the identity of an anonymous dissenter, American Oversight filed a FOIA request to learn who at DHS directed the agency to pursue the individual in the first place. Twitter has now settled its suit, but we’re going to continue pursuing the investigation to find out how and why this happened.

Unless the Trump administration has a sudden change of heart and decides to embrace ethics and transparency, the next hundred days are going to be just as scandal-ridden as the last hundred – which makes this work even more important.

We’re going to keep digging for answers, and we’ll let you know what we find. You can track all of our investigations here, and you can help us spread the word on Twitter by clicking here to follow us and share our work.