On Nov. 23, Murphy sent President-elect Biden a letter informing him that the administration would begin the formal transition process. American Oversight’s investigation into potential political interference in the presidential transition is ongoing.
On Monday, American Oversight launched an investigation of the General Services Administration’s refusal to approve transition resources for the president-elect.
According to multiple news reports, Emily Murphy, the Trump appointed GSA administrator, has failed to sign the memo authorizing the use of government resources by the transition team of President-elect Joe Biden. The delay in issuing the “ascertainment,” now of more than three days since media outlets projected Biden as the winner, is nearly unprecedented.
On Monday, American Oversight submitted two Freedom of Information Act requests seeking to determine whether the White House played any role in GSA’s failure to follow democratic norms for the peaceful transition of power. The requests ask for communications with the White House of both Murphy and GSA General Counsel Trent Benishek, as well as Deputy Administrator Allison Brigati, Chief of Staff Robert Borden, Federal Transition Coordinator Mary Gilbert, and White House Liaison Carla Sansalone, as well as those officials’ email communications containing key terms related to the election or presidential transition. Benishek, whom the White House installed at GSA on Oct. 29, had previously served as a special assistant to the president in the White House Counsel’s office.
“There is no reasonable basis for the GSA administrator to refuse to carry out her clear, nonpartisan responsibility to facilitate the continuity of government between administrations,” said Austin Evers, executive director at American Oversight. “Absent a credible explanation, the public is right to worry that Administrator Murphy is acting out of partisanship, concern for the president’s ego, or fear of retribution. We hope Administrator Murphy does the right thing.”
This isn’t the first time Murphy has made headlines in her role at GSA. The GSA inspector general previously found that Murphy may have misled Congress about President Donald Trump’s role in the decision to keep the FBI headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C — just blocks away from his namesake hotel, which occupies federal property. You can read about our ongoing investigation into what influence the White House and the Trump Organization might have had over the FBI headquarters project — and Murphy’s role in the decision — over on our Twitter.
Part of Investigation: