Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on Wednesday urged President-elect Joe Biden "to reverse course from the Trump administration's transparency abuses" and laid out five specific actions to effect such change.
"President Trump has claimed that he's the most transparent president in history," the government watchdog group wrote in a Twitter thread Wednesday. "His administration's secrecy about who visits the White House, abuse of security classifications, and record-keeping failures prove that's a lie."
CREW cites as examples Trump's son-in-law and White House advisor Jared Kushner's communications via WhatsApp—in violation of the Presidential Records Act—with foreign leaders including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), as well as White House secrecy over who visited the president at Mar-a-Lago, his south Florida estate.
"Don't you wish you knew who visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago? And who had the president's ear?" asked CREW
1. Create clear enforcement measures for the Presidential and Federal Records Acts so there can be real consequence… https://t.co/QGSDSFBXXi— Citizens for Ethics (@Citizens for Ethics)1607536516.0
3. Modernize the way Freedom of Information Act requests are processed, so people don’t have to wait years for reco… https://t.co/edSmCO8ecm— Citizens for Ethics (@Citizens for Ethics)1607536586.0
ICE spent $20 million expanding its private detention center network after Congress told it to stop https://t.co/LTY6e1SDA5— Citizens for Ethics (@Citizens for Ethics)1607536630.0
4. The president should issue an executive order requiring the Office of Legal Counsel to proactively disclose its… https://t.co/zxVo50YTA2— Citizens for Ethics (@Citizens for Ethics)1607536686.0
"No matter who is president, transparency is what allows the American people to keep tabs on their government. It could not be more important to reverse course from the Trump administration's transparency abuses," the group wrote.
The tweeted recommendations follow a recent CREW report entitled What Democracy Looks Like. Released this month, the publication included a section on how to restore executive transparency and delved more deeply into the steps touched upon in the Wednesday Twitter thread. Solutions the report called for included:
Congress should amend the Presidential Records Act and the Federal Records Act to effectively ban the use of auto-deleting messaging apps.
Modernize the creation and management of immigration records in digital format with all law enforcement information either maintained in separate records or segregated into easily redacted fields.
"The Trump administration's violations have culminated in an unmatched disregard for government integrity and personal ethics, and are the latest manifestation of the unremitting insult to the American public's right to knowledge, national security, and our democratic system," the report states. "Reform is needed now more than ever."