(WASHINGTON)—Danielle Brian, POGO’s Executive Director, released the following statement:
Impeachment is a serious decision, but the Constitution provides Congress with this “indispensable” tool to hold officials to their oath of office. It is a tool to be used on the rarest of occasions when an official poses such a threat to the functioning of our democracy that Congress needs to determine if they are fit for office. Today, the Project On Government Oversight supports the House vote to impeach President Donald Trump and to proceed to the Senate for a trial, which should be fairly administered and should provide an additional opportunity for evidence to be presented.
The president’s brazen efforts to subvert the constitutional responsibility of Congress have brought us to the breaking point. President Trump is not the first president to obstruct congressional inquiries. However, he is unparalleled in his repeated declarations that he is unwilling to comply with even the most basic congressional requests for information, preposterously declaring the congressional impeachment inquiry to be “unconstitutional.” There is no question that President Trump has repeatedly obstructed congressional oversight, as enumerated in the second article of impeachment that the House is voting on today. On this, there can be no substantive debate. This contempt for Congress’s constitutional role to conduct oversight of the president is itself worthy of impeachment.
The president’s obstruction is intrinsically tied to the question of whether he abused his power for personal political gain during his dealings with Ukraine. Free and fair elections are a cornerstone of our democracy. Any attempt by a sitting president to pressure a foreign leader into announcing an investigation in order to harm the president’s political rival is a corrupt use of power. President Trump should have cooperated with the probe and provided the American people the facts they need to understand his actions. Instead he stonewalled, disparaged the inquiry, and attacked those, including the whistleblower, who were engaged in the lawful and constitutional processes that preserve our rule of law and system of government.
POGO is a nonpartisan organization. We believe that the law should be fairly applied to everyone regardless of party affiliation. But being nonpartisan does not mean we must be silent in the face of wrongdoing. Nonpartisanship means we believe no party, no administration, is immune from accountability. No White House is above the law.
Executive branch stonewalling has become more frequent over the past few decades—from President George W. Bush’s refusal to allow White House Counsel Harriet Miers to testify in response to a congressional subpoena, to Attorney General Eric Holder’s refusal to provide subpoenaed documents under President Barack Obama—and the appetite for robust oversight has deteriorated in both parties over time. In too many instances, politicians have chosen party over democratic accountability. Yet President Trump’s actions have accelerated this trend to an undemocratic extreme.
As a result, POGO believes the only way to uphold our mission of working toward a more accountable government that safeguards constitutional principles is to support impeachment. To do otherwise would be to allow this president and future ones not only to defy Congress, but also to defy the limits enshrined in our Constitution meant to safeguard all of us from government abuse and corruption.
Media Contacts: Danielle Brian, Executive Director at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), [email protected] or (202) 347-1122; or Caitlin MacNeal, Media Relations Manager at POGO, [email protected] or (202) 347-1122
Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when the government fails to serve the public or silences those who report wrongdoing.
We champion reforms to achieve a more effective, ethical, and accountable federal government that safeguards constitutional principles.