One Big Thing: Do you think there’s enough transparency in government and oversight of government officials?
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What is it?
- On Friday, May 15, President Donald Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick. Despite contrary reactions from both parties, Lawfare maintains that Trump’s firing of Linick is almost certainly within his constitutional powers.
- It remains unclear whether Trump can replace Linick immediately. It is very important that each agency or department has an acting inspector general as they will spearhead any and all oversight conducted within their jurisdiction.
Why is it important?
- The firings of Linick and several other Inspectors General, bring to light the issues of independent government oversight and the overall system of checks and balances.
- Government oversight is the foundation of how our constitutional system of checks and balances functions because without it, elected officials and public servants would not be held accountable. An educated constituency is vital to upholding democratic norms and a huge part of that is being informed.
- Various Congressional committees have been set up in the past to investigate government actions including the recent Bengazi hearings, Whitewater investigation and the Iran-Contra scandal.
- The media also plays an important enforcer of government oversight and accountability. When trustworthy information about election officials and government is made available, citizens are able to engage more frequently and effectively.
- The cases of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are examples of whether these men are criminals by exposing classified government documents or were providing a public service as a journalist (Assange) or government whistleblower (Snowden).
What can you do?
- Learn more about Presidential powers in relation to the termination of government oversight officials and the long-term effects these actions may have on democracy.
- Learn more about government oversight and whistleblowers from The Government Accountability Project.
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