One year ago today, we launched American Oversight with a mission that was anything but simple: hold the Trump administration accountable by extracting evidence of corruption, malfeasance, or other misconduct. By highlighting the administration’s own words and documents, we let the corrupt condemn themselves.
750 public records requests
10,000s of pages of government records
The Trump administration has exceeded even our most pessimistic expectations; everywhere we’ve looked, we have seen issues demanding urgent investigation. From spending on luxury flights and office furniture, to nepotism and outright lies, Trump appointees have amassed an unprecedented record of corruption demanding urgent public scrutiny.
In response, we have submitted more than 750 public records requests to over 35 different agencies and several states – and when the Trump administration has tried to stonewall us, we’ve filed 37 lawsuits to enforce our right to get answers from our government.
The results are clear: No one in the Trump administration is immune from accountability. At this point, it’s safe to say American Oversight has a reputation with Jeff Sessions, Betsy DeVos, Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, Steve Mnuchin, Mick Mulvaney, and scores of other appointees.
They know – or should know – that if they engage in mischief, we’ll be there to expose it.
Our investigations have forced the administration to hand over tens of thousands of pages of internal emails, memos, text messages, talking points, expense records, and other documents. The paper trail reveals deep problems at the agencies and a swamp that is anything but drained. We’ve revealed:
These records, and hundreds more, are all posted on our website where the public and the press can use them to hold our leaders accountable for their actions – and we’re posting new documents every week.
All of this matters. Scandals do not have to be Watergate to make a difference. Ask the proverbial camel about its load of straw.
The urgency of our mission has only increased over the past twelve months – and our actions reflect it. Since the beginning of 2018 alone, we have filed over 150 FOIAs and 15 new lawsuits. We are not letting new transgressions slide even in this crazy news environment; Trump and his appointees will be held accountable for their full record of conduct. Our team has grown from five when we launched to more than a dozen today, and we are still growing.
We are also thinking ahead. In the coming weeks, stay tuned for the official launch of American Oversight’s Parallel Investigations Project, an initiative to pursue documents the administration is hiding from Congress. For too long, the Trump administration has benefited from allies in Congress completely abdicating their responsibility to be a check and balance on the president. That failure has serious consequences for our country, and it can’t be allowed to continue.
Ultimately, the lesson of the past year is that oversight still matters. Amid the seemingly endless hail of scandals, personal conflicts, ethics violations, and outright incompetence that this administration delivers on a daily basis, it is more important than ever to call out corruption when and where we see it, to shine a light on misconduct, and to empower the American people to hold our government accountable.
That’s a project that will take all of us working together to uncover the facts and demand answers. If you’re able, please consider supporting our work with a donation, and you can always help by spreading the word about our investigations by following us on Twitter or Facebook or by sharing these posts.