The mission of government matters; however, we can’t lead effectively if we don’t have the people’s trust. That’s why I believe Justice Brandeis said it best when he said, “Sunlight is the best of disinfectants.” To rebuild the people’s trust in our democracy, we need a government that does all it can to be transparent and provide the public with the tools they need to hold our government accountable.
As founder and chair of the Congressional Transparency Caucus, I have worked hard to make the federal government more accessible and open to the public. My comprehensive transparency legislation, the Transparency in Government Act (TGA), includes reforms that will shine a light on every branch of the federal government, strengthening our democracy, and promoting an efficient, effective, and open government. I have also prioritized legislation that would make congressionally mandated reports easily accessible to the public, increase oversight in the judiciary by allowing cameras in courtrooms, and require federal agencies to publish congressional budget justifications on a centralized website.
Rep. Quigley serves as the co-chair on the bipartisan Congressional Transparency Caucus and holds regular briefings on the challenges Congress faces as it works to bring greater transparency to Capitol Hill.
Additionally, under the Trump administration, I have become increasingly alarmed at how the President encourages violations of one of the bedrock legal guardrails of our democracy, the Hatch Act; carelessly obstructs government watchdogs when they try to discipline lawbreakers; flagrantly ignores disclosure requirements; provides limited access to White House visitor logs; and disregards ethics regulations pertaining to conflicts of interest in which his business deals and personal interests conflict with his public duties as President. In response, I have introduced bills like the RNC ACT, or the Reducing Nefarious Crimes Act, to increase penalties for violating the Hatch Act, and the MAR-A-LAGO Act, to require disclosure of visitor logs at the White House and other Trump properties where official business is conducted. As a member of Congress, I believe it is my duty and that of my colleagues to hold the Executive Branch accountable and carry out our constitutional responsibility to provide thorough oversight of the federal government.
By taking action now, we can restore Americans’ faith in government and prove to the public that we are worthy of the responsibility they have entrusted us with. Increasing transparency and accountability in government is not only the key to increasing public trust; it is the key to improving the government.
More on Government Transparency
U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) sent a letter to Representative James Clyburn (SC-06), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and House Majority Whip, expressing strong concerns about possible misuse of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds by United States Secretary of Education Betsy Devos. He cited dramatic changes that have been made to the plan for the distribution of funds, in an apparent effort by DeVos to advantage small, private, often religious schools.
As of this week, over 1.5 million Americans have contracted coronavirus and over 90,000 have died – including more than 4,100 here in Illinois. And last month, nearly 22 million Americans filed for unemployment. I know that essential workers can’t wait for support and families can’t wait to pay rent or to keep food on their tables. I was proud that Congress mobilized quickly to pass three pieces of smart, bipartisan legislation but the crisis hasn’t ended, and Congress can’t consider our work done either.
Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) introduced the Court Access Amid the Pandemic Act, which would authorize video and teleconferencing of judicial proceedings during the COVID-19 emergency period. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced federal courts across the country to change their daily operations to protect the wellbeing of the Justices, court staff, and the public. Quigley’s bill would enable public access to these proceedings while experts recommend against gatherings.
Specifically, this bill:
Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman on Financial Services and General Government and co-chair and co-founder of the Congressional Transparency Caucus, sent a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts requesting that the Supreme Court allow real-time audio and video access to all Court proceedings. Quigley argued that, in a time when live-streaming of appellate courts is highly normalized, modernization of the Supreme Court is overdue.
Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, questioned Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler during a hearing on the Agency’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget request.