Fight It with FOIA: How Congress Can Respond to White House Attempts to Block Congressional Oversight
Andy Wright & Justin Florence, Just Security, June 5, 2017
The Trump White House took another step last week to weaken the checks and balances at the center of our constitutional system. According to Politico, President Donald Trump’s “White House is telling federal agencies to blow off Democratic lawmakers’ oversight requests.” As Politico reported, “a White House lawyer told agencies not to cooperate with such requests from Democrats, according to Republican sources inside and outside the administration.”
Politico’s reporting was reinforced by the release of a memorandum from the Trump Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel to the White House Counsel entitled “Authority of Individual Members of Congress to Conduct Oversight of the Executive Branch.” That memorandum states that “Individual members of Congress, including ranking minority members, do not have the authority to conduct oversight in the absence of a specific delegation by a full house, committee, or subcommittee.”
This is a brazen statement and one for which the OLC memo lacks support.
Read more here.