Open Letter to Rep. Gowdy: Do Your Job

Chairman Gowdy,

As a prosecutor, you pursued justice regardless of the political affiliation of the defendant. Corruption follows power, not party. The same applies as you take the gavel of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, one of the most important sources of accountability in our system of checks and balances. As you put it last year, the “necessity and importance of Congress’s oversight authority is obvious.” Those words have never been truer than today.

Far from “draining the swamp,” under President Trump, we’ve seen unprecedented conflicts of interest take hold in Washington – from ex-lobbyists writing rules that benefit their former employers to self-dealing by administration officials. This is not just politics as usual, but this culture of corruption has a real impact on American families – from wasting our tax dollars to implementing policies that stack the deck for the wealthy and well-connected instead of ordinary people.

As the new Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, you now have the authority to investigate “any matter” “at any time.” The swamp in Washington has never been deeper, and there are any number of vital investigations that you could conduct:

  • Examine conflicts of interest posed by Trump advisors writing laws to benefit their own companies and holdings;
  • Investigate whether powerful chemical companies pressured the EPA to allow the continued use of a harmful pesticide;
  • See if government business is being steered to properties owned by the Trump family;
  • Uncover how President Trump’s border wall will be constructed – and whether taxpayers will be left on the hook for its cost.

You can also be a champion for inspectors general, whistleblowers, and the Freedom of Information Act, each of which serve as important checks on opacity and corruption.

There is no question that any of these issues could fall under the jurisdiction of your committee; rather, the question is whether the Oversight Committee will remain on the sidelines under your stewardship just as it did under the last Chairman? Your background as a prosecutor and your previous commitment to congressional oversight gives us hope that you will uncover answers, hold political leaders accountable, and investigate wrongdoing at all levels of government.

This is not the time for small ball. We urge you to put politics aside and ask the hard questions, demand answers, and follow the truth wherever it leads. Now more than ever, we need leaders in Congress who will stand up and fight to stem the tide of corruption.


Austin Evers,

Executive Director
American Oversight

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