December 30, 2020 letter to Biden and Harris

 

December 30, 2020

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
President-Elect of the United States
Biden-Harris Transition Team
1401 Constitution Ave NW Washington, DC 20230

The Honorable Kamala Harris
Vice President-Elect of the United States
Biden-Harris Transition Team
1401 Constitution Ave NW Washington, DC 20230

Dear President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris,

Congratulations on your decisive victory in November. By a record number, the American people voted for the candidate who believes our democracy works best when every voice is heard and every vote is counted.

From leadership failures during the COVID-19 crisis to the corruption that many Americans believe pervades every corner of government, it’s critical for you to chart a new way forward. As members of the Declaration for American Democracy coalition—a 170+ member coalition of organizations across the issue spectrum representing tens of millions of Americans—we believe strongly that the way to do this is through prioritizing and working to implement comprehensive democracy reform policies, both through the legislative process and executive actions.

These efforts must include:

  • Protecting voting rights by ensuring every eligible voter is able to cast their ballots safely and securely, free from discrimination and voter
  • Ending the corrupting power of big money in politics through reforms that will empower small donors in politics, bring dark money into the light, and strengthen oversight of our
  • Restoring ethics and accountability in Washington by reducing the power of lobbyists and strengthening oversight and enforcement of federal conflict-of- interest rules.
  • Protecting the rule of law by restoring our Constitutional system of checks-and- balances and ensuring that no one in this country is above the law, even the president and his

From your first days in the U.S. Senate through the presidential campaign, both of you have fought to end the dominance of big money in politics and protect the right to vote.

President-elect Biden announced his support for the For the People Act (H.R. 1) during the presidential campaign and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris cosponsored the legislation in 2019.

The For the People Act is the most comprehensive package of anti-corruption and voting reforms since the Watergate reforms Biden supported in the 1970s. It would end the dominance of big money in politics, protect and expand the right to vote, and ensure public officials are working in the public interest.

We urge you to fully endorse this landmark legislation as it’s introduced and debated in the 117th Congress, call for its passage, and use the bully pulpit of the presidency to build public support for it.

In addition to legislative solutions, you can offer a clean break from the corruption of the Trump administration through a series of executive orders and appointments to address these issues.

This starts with signing a robust ethics order for your appointments on day one of your administration to prevent conflicts of interest, undue lobbyist influence, and ensure transparency to guarantee that your administration is focused solely on working for all Americans.

Your administration should also sign an executive order calling for contractors to disclose their political spending, encourage agencies to require more disclosure of corporate spending in our elections, restore and expand upon the precedent of releasing White House visitor logs, and appoint Department of Justice leadership committed to proactively enforce the Voting Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Help America Vote Act, among other things.

The prioritization and implementation of these issues would benefit greatly from the appointment of a White House senior staffer and affiliated office focused on a coordinated effort to address democracy reform issues across the government.

Too many Americans have lost faith that their elected officials can address our country’s challenges—from COVID-19 failures to tackling climate change and addressing the scourge of gun violence—because of the power of wealthy special interests in politics.

By supporting, championing, and prioritizing bold reforms like H.R 1 and implementing comprehensive ethics and transparency plans for your administration, we can restore ethics and accountability in government and protect the right to vote.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Signed,

Declaration for American Democracy
20/20 Vision
All On The Line
Alliance for Youth Action
American Oversight
American Promise
Blue Future
Brave New Films
Center for American Progress Action Fund
Center for Popular Democracy
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
Clean Elections Texas
Common Cause
Democracy 21
Democracy Matters
Demos
End Citizens United / Let America Vote Action Fund
Fix Democracy First
Franciscan Action Network
Free Speech For People
Government Accountability Project Greenpeace USA
Indivisible
International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR)
Lawyers for Good Government (L4GG)
League of Conservation Voters
Maine Citizens for Clean Elections
MapLight
MomsRising
MoveOn
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Next Up Action Fund
North Carolina Asian Americans Together
Patriotic Millionaires
Peace Action
People For the American Way
Progressive Turnout Project
Protect Democracy
Public Citizen
RepresentUs
RepresentUs New Mexico
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Stand Up America
Take on Wall Street
The Workers Circle
Union of Concerned Scientists Voices for Progress