Holding Our Government Accountable

Open government is a prerequisite for a free society. As our Founding Fathers recognized, a truly democratic system depends on an informed citizenry. Accountability is only an empty promise without transparency.

Senator John Cornyn

Open government is one of the most basic requirements of any healthy democracy. It allows taxpayers to see where their money is going; it permits the honest exchange of information that ensures government accountability; and it upholds the ideal that government never rules without the consent of the people. Our government is based not on the need to know, but upon the fundamental right to know.

  • Introduced and led efforts to pass the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 (P.L.114-185; 114th Congress), which requires federal agencies to operate under a “presumption of openness” when considering the release of government information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and aims to reduce the overuse of exemptions to keep information from the public.

  • Supported the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-41; 115th Congress), which established the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection and increased protections for whistleblowers to improve the accountability of employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • Introduced the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act (S.376; 115th Congress) to encourage transparency in the Fish and Wildlife Service’s listing processes by requiring data used in the process to be made publically available.

  • Sponsored the Fair Access to Science & Technology Research (FASTR) Act of 2017 (S.1701; 115th Congress), a bill designed to give the American people open access to taxpayer-funded federal research.

  • Cosponsored the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2017 (S.21; 115th Congress) to require that Congress approve every new major rule proposed by the Executive Branch before it can be enforced. Given the scope and magnitude of the EPA’s regulations and their impact on the economy, it is essential that the regulatory process remain transparent and accountable.

  • Cosponsored the Sunshine for Regulations and Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2017 (S.119; 115th Congress), which would allow for greater transparency, judicial review, and public input in lawsuits involving settlements with government agencies that often result in exorbitant regulatory costs.

  • Cosponsored the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2017 (S.643; 115th Congress), which would allow U.S. District and Appellate Court judges to allow the photography and electronic recording of court proceedings, except when it violates due process rights.

  • Supports the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2017 (S.16; 115th Congress), would direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit the Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve System and Banks within one year and report its findings to Congress.

  • Supports the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Accountability Act of 2017 (S.387; 115th Congress), which would change the funding source of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) from the Federal Reserve System to annual appropriations, giving Congress additional oversight and transparency.

  • Sponsored the Tax Transparency Act of 2015 (S.252; 114th Congress), a bill to provide taxpayers with easy-to-understand information about legislation that impacts their taxes.

  • Introduced the National Debt and Taxation Transparency Act of 2015 (S.745; 114th Congress), which would provide taxpayers with an assessment of their share of the federal debt and how the long-term fiscal condition of the federal government will impact their standard of living and economic well-being.

  • Supported the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) (P.L.113-101; 112th Congress), which imposes significant new spending disclosure requirements on federal agencies and establishes government-wide financial reporting standards. 

  • Supported the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-41; 115th Congress), which established the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection and increased protections for whistleblowers to improve the accountability of employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Introduced and led efforts to pass the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 (P.L.114-185; 114th Congress), which requires federal agencies to operate under a “presumption of openness” when considering the release of government information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and aims to reduce the overuse of exemptions to keep information from the public.
  • Voted for the Whistleblower Protection Enforcement Act of 2012 (P.L.112-199; 112th Congress), which was signed into law on in 2012. 
  • Supported a successful amendment to remove a FOIA exemption from the FDA Reauthorization in 2012.
  • Voted for the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012 (P.L.112-105), which became law in 2012 and prohibits Members of Congress and federal employees from profiting from of non-public information they obtain via their official positions.

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