Federal Employees News Digest

POGO to Congress: Enact PODA

A longtime government watchdog is calling for wide-ranging reforms, via the passage of legislation that would place a time limit on presidentially declared emergency powers, strengthen congressional subpoena powers, protect inspectors general against politically-tainted firings—and a host of other long-discussed changes across all branches of the federal government. 

The nonprofit Project On Government Oversight (POGO) in late September issued its most recent call for these and related enhancements—as found in the Protecting Our Democracy Act bill, also known as “PODA”—and explained how the bill would buttress democratic institutions, institutions that in the opinion of this group and many Washington-watchers have been revealed to be creaky in recent years. 

“The weaknesses in our systems of checks and balances and anti-corruption laws were already there—[but] the last administration just made them more visible to the broader public,” POGO’s director of public policy, Liz Hempowicz, said as part of a longer statement on the legislation. “If we want to prevent future abuses of power by the executive branch, we cannot ignore the systemic issues the Trump administration exposed. We must enact legislative reform now. The Protecting Our Democracy Act is a direct answer to public concerns about corruption in government. Congress must pass this bill to protect the integrity of our democracy.”

POGO encourages the public and all interested parties to join them in pressing for passage of this wide-ranging reform. 

“Many of the measures included in PODA address issues POGO has raised for years,” the group said in its release, “including the broken system meant to protect our whistleblowers and the beleaguered inspector general system.”

Some other features of the legislation include provisions requiring the Department of Justice and the White House to submit detailed, specified information in order to effect certain executive branch pardons; ending any statute of limitations on federal offenses committed by a President or Vice President; authorizing Congress to act if a sitting President or Vice President accepts emoluments (e.g., gifts as bribes to get favors in return); strengthens disclosure requirements that apply to the President and Vice President—among many others.

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