March 15, 2017

Senate Democrats Release List of Over 100 Oversight Letters President Trump Refuses to Answer

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In recognition of Sunshine Week, a nationwide initiative to promote openness and transparency in government, the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee today released a compilation of over 100 oversight letters the Trump Administration has refused to answer in response to congressional inquiries.  Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chair, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), joined Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and called on President Trump to take steps to ensure greater transparency throughout his administration. 

“President Trump made a promise to families in Michigan and across the country that he would create jobs and grow the economy,” said Senator Stabenow, Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communication Committee.  “Yet since he took office, his administration has failed to respond to over 100 critical requests for information about how President Trump will achieve those goals.  The public has a right to know whether President Trump is keeping his promise and I call on the White House to ensure greater transparency.”

“Sometimes silence speaks louder than words, and it’s not too surprising that President Trump is refusing to defend his broken campaign promises and all of the ways he is hurting the middle class and helping millionaires and billionaires,” said Senator Patty Murray. “Families across the country have sent a very clear message that they are appalled at what President Trump is doing—and Democrats are going to stand with these families and do everything we can to push for transparency and hold President Trump accountable.”

“Shedding light on our government is more important today than it has been in recent memory,” said Senator Wyden. “Burying science, hiding facts and spewing misinformation from the mouthpiece of the executive branch erodes the public’s trust in government and makes Americans less safe. Americans deserve a transparent government they know is working for them, not serving special interests. I will never stop working to bring sunshine to the dark corners of this administration.”

“A dark cloak of secrecy has fallen over this Administration,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “Lobbyists and industry front men played big roles in the transition, and are now running the government.  President Trump would prefer the American people not know who these people are and what they are doing.  We’ve seen this movie before, and the ending is never good for middle-class Americans who expect their government to work for them, not for the powerful and well-connected.”

“People are worried about whether Trump and his team and working for the American people or just working to make themselves richer,” said Senator Warren.  “Trump and his team have extensive conflicts of interest, and Trump has issued multiple illegal and unconstitutional executive orders.  President Trump and his advisers should stop hiding and start answering to the American people.”

Senate Democrats have sent over 100 letters seeking answers to critical questions on issues as diverse as Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, President Trump’s conflicts of interest, and the controversial Executive Orders banning visitors from several Muslim-majority countries. Letters also seeks answers regarding health care, jobs, and the environment.  

 

The full list of the unanswered congressional inquiries may be found below and a link is available here

 

1.    A January 23, 2017 letter from Senators Carper and Warren to Acting General Services Administration Administrator Timothy Horne seeking information on efforts to address conflicts of interest surrounding the Trump Organization’s lease to redevelop and manage the Old Post office building.  

 

2.    A January 23, 2017 letter from Senator Murphy to President Trump outlining five executive actions that the President should take immediately to close loopholes in Buy American laws. 

 

3.    A January 23, 2017 letter from eight Senators to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requesting an investigation of the stock market trading activities of then Representative Tom Price, currently Secretary of Health and Human Services.

 

4.    A January 25, 2017 letter from 156 members of the Senate and House to President Trump requesting that the Department of Veterans Affairs and all veterans seeking jobs with the federal government be exempt from the federal hiring freeze.

 

5.   A January 25, 2017 letter from 13 Senators to President Trump decrying reports of instructions of a gag order provided to all federal agencies to silence communications with the public and members of Congress.

 

6.   A January 25, 2017 letter from Senator Durbin to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Acting Director Anne Schuchat requesting the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry publicly release data it collected through a study on the health effects of trichloroethene contamination of drinking water in Rockford, Illinois.

 

7.   A January, 25, 2017 letter from 10 Senators to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling on him to recuse himself from all matters related to ExxonMobil.

 

8.   A January 25, 2017 letter from Senator Wyden to President Trump asking the President to clarify the impact of the federal hiring freeze on the hiring of wildland firefighters.

 

9.   A January 26, 2017 letter from seven Senators to President Trump asking the President to read the intelligence committee’s 2014 torture report and disseminate the report within the executive branch.

 

10. A January 26, 2017 letter from five Senators to President Trump calling for the reversal and questions regarding the suspension of all grants and contracts at the Environmental Protection Agency.

 

11.  A January 27, 2017 letter from six Senators to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos raising concerns about potential conflicts of interest in her public ethics agreement, including investments in higher education companies.

 

12.  A January 30, 2017 letter from eight Senators to Acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff, M.D. with questions on how the federal hiring freeze will impact the agency.

 

13.  A January 30, 2017 letter from Senator Casey to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly with questions and concerns regarding the President’s executive order banning entry into the United States of citizens from seven majority Muslim counties. 

 

14. A January 30, 2017 letter from nine Senators to Acting Attorney General Sally Yates with questions on the Department of Justice’s review of executive orders and memoranda being issued by the Trump Administration.

 

15. A January 30, 2017 letter from Senators McCaskill and Carper to White House Counsel Don McGahn with questions on the White House staff’s use of private email accounts and how the complies with the Presidential Records Act.

 

16.  A January 30, 2017 letter from ten Senators to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling on him to recuse himself from all matters related to ExxonMobil.

 

17.  A January 31, 2017 letter from eight Senators to President Trump regarding potential conflicts of interest related to the approval and construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

 

18.  A January 31, 2017 letter from Senator Cardin to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with concerns on Tillerson’s opinion on the President’s executive order banning entry of citizens from seven majority Muslim citizens.

 

19.  A February 1, 2017 letter from three Senators to President Trump requesting that the President to consult with tribes and follow federal law before moving forward with the Dakota Access Pipeline.

 

20. A February 1, 2017 letter from six Senators to Senior White House Advisor Jason Botel and Acting Secretary of Education Phil Rosenfelt expressing concerns over President Trump’s employment decisions  at the Department of Education.

 

21. A February 2, 2017 letter from Senators Wyden and Heinrich to President Trump expressing concern with the nomination of Gina Haspel as deputy director of the CIA and requesting that a classified letter from Senators Wyden and Heinrich on her background be declassified.

 

22. A February 3, 2017 letter from six Senators to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission providing additional evidence regarding Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price’s stock market trading activities.

 

23. A February 3, 2017 letter from six Senators to Secretary of Defense James Mattis express concern with a potential Executive Order that would revoke the bans on CIA “black site” detention facilities and interrogation techniques that are not in the U.S. Army Field Manual.

 

24. A February 3, 2017 letter from five Senators to Secretary of Defense James Mattis expressing concern with the President’s executive order banning entry into the United States of citizens from seven majority Muslim nations.

 

25. A February 3, 2017 letter from Senator Bennet to White House Counsel Don McGahn inquiring about the executive order concerning ethics commitments by executive branch appointees.

 

26. A February 3, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Baldwin to National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn calling on him to recuse himself from any decisions related to Goldman Sachs in light of a $284 million severance package from his previous employer.

 

27.  A February 3, 2017 letter from Senators Whitehouse and Udall to President Trump asking for a full membership list of the Trump Organization’s Mar-a-lago club.

 

28. A February 6, 2017 letter from Senator Wyden to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressing concern about the escalation of Russian-backed violence in Ukraine and stating the view that Russia does not deserve sanctions relief.

 

29.  A February 6, 2017 letter from six Senators to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross requesting information regarding his relationship to Russian investors in the Bank of Cyprus.

 

30. A February 7, 2017 letter from five Senators to President Trump requesting that the President follow the appropriate procedures required for tribal consultation, environmental law, and due process with regard to approving the Dakota Access Pipeline.

 

31. A February 7, 2017 letter from Senator Warren to Acting Secretary of Labor Edward Hugler highlighting the financial industry’s support for the fiduciary rule for financial advisors, which would protect consumers from predatory conflicts of interest. 

 

32. A February 8, 2017 letter from three Senators to Deputy Secretary of Commerce nominee Todd Ricketts seeking answers about Ricketts’ leadership role and fundraising activities on behalf of the Super PAC Future45 and its dark money counterpart, the 45Committee, the group behind pro-Trump TV ads airing in several states.

 

33. A February 8, 2017 letter from Senator Wyden to FBI Section Chief David Hardy regarding reports that the FBI will soon stop accepting emailed FOIA requests and requiring FOIA requests to be made through a new online portal that has certain technical glitches. 

 

34. A February 9, 2017 letter from six Senators to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly with questions concerning the President’s executive order that strips immigrants of privacy act protections.

 

35. A February 10, 2017 letter from Senators Murray and Cantwell to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos seeking answers as to why the website for a federal law protecting students with disabilities was taken down from the U.S. Department of Education’s official site.

 

36. A February 10, 2017 letter from four Senators to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly with questions about the potential diversion of funds from homeland security priorities to pay for President Trump’s proposed border wall. 

 

37. A February 10, 2017 letter from Senator Casey to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly regarding the prioritization of law enforcement and homeland security funding.

 

38. A February 10, 2017 letter from Senators Durbin and Duckworth to President Trump with suggested proposals to the President on federal solutions that could help address gun violence in Chicago.

 

39. A February 13, 2017 letter from seven Senators to White House Counsel Don McGahn requesting answers regarding what role oil refining executive Carl Icahn is playing in the White House and how he is involved in EPA regulations such as the Renewable Fuel Standard, which will directly impact his business. 

 

40. A February 13, 2017 letter from Senators Carper and McCaskill to Secretary of Defense James Mattis requesting information from the Department of Defense about security measures being taken for President Trump’s use of a personal smartphone.

 

41. A February 13, 2017 letter from Senators Murray and Wyden criticizing the President’s executive order banning entry of citizens from seven majority Muslim nations and highlighting its adverse impact on our nation’s higher education system.

 

42. A February 13, 2017 letter from Senator Wyden to Acting Secretary of Interior Kevin Haugrud asking for clarification on the implications of the federal hiring freeze on the hiring of temporary wildfire workers.

 

43. A February 14, 2017 letter from Senator Warren to Acting Secretary of Labor Edward Hugler with questions regarding reports that financial services industry lobbyists reviewed President Trump’s executive memorandum on the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule.

 

44. A February 14, 2017 letter from Senator Heinrich to Acting Director of National Intelligence Mike Dempsey requesting details on the manner in which the Trump Administration has been accessing and handling sensitive and classified information.  

 

45. A February 15, 2017 letter from Senator Bennet to White House Counsel Don McGahn inquiring about the White House’s efforts to minimize conflicts of interest between President Trump and the Trump organization.

 

46. A February 15, 2017 letter from eleven  Senators to Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling for the appointment of an independent Special Counsel to investigate possible illegal communications between Michael Flynn and representatives of the Russian government, as well as efforts by Flynn and other White House officials to conceal any wrongdoing.

 

47. A February 15, 2017 letter from Senators Feinstein and Grassley to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey requesting a Justice Department briefing and documents related to the circumstances leading up to the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

 

48. A February 15, 2017 letter from Senator Wyden to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly criticizing various forms of surveillance including the requesting of smartphone PIN numbers and access to locked, encrypted devices of American citizens. 

 

49. A February 16, 2017 letter from thirty Senators to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt requesting that he recuse himself from all issues related to lawsuits he brought against the agency to overturn or weaken clean air and water pollution rules.

 

50. A February 16, 2017 letter from five Senators to President Trump requesting that he not remove Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray from his position.

 

51.  A February 16, 2017 letter from nine Senators to White House Counsel Don McGahn requesting the preservation of documents related to communication between Russia and all Trump officials and associates, as well as all documents related to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

 

52. A February 16, 2017 letter from nine Senators to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey calling for the preservation of documents related to communication between Russia and all Trump officials and associates, as well as all documents related to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

 

53. A February 16, 2017 letter from nine Senators to Secretary of Defense James Mattis requesting information regarding the recent reorganization of the National Security Council to include President Trump’s chief political strategist Steve Bannon as a regular attendee of Principals Committee.

 

54. A February 16, 2017 letter from nine Senators to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking that he recuse himself from any Justice Department investigations into Trump-Russia communications and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

 

55.  A February 16, 2017 letter from nine Senators to Federal Bureau of Investigations Director James Comey requesting he preserve all documents related to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

  

56.  A February 16, 2017 letter from 11 Senators to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson requesting that he make full use of the State Department’s Dissent Channel.

  

57. A February 17, 2017 letter from Senators Murray and Wyden requesting answers regarding the decision to eliminate basic information and resources on healthcare.gov, the website that millions of Americans use to understand, shop for, and purchase health insurance coverage.

 

58. A February 17, 2017 letter from Senators Wyden and Blumenthal to President Donald Trump highlighting the President’s personally receiving financial benefits from the Chinese government in violation of the Constitution and requesting that he cease such activity.

 

59. A February 17, 2017 letter from Senators Peters and Carper to President Trump on the excessive costs of biologic drugs.

  

60. A February 17, 2017 letter from Senator Whitehouse to Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General for Administration Lee Lofthus on employee ethics procedures.

 

61. A February 17, 2017 letter from nine Senators to Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Mark Sandy requesting information regarding President Trump’s “two for one” rule requiring federal agencies to identify two existing regulations for elimination for every new regulation issued.

 

62. A February 21, 2017 letter from seven Senators to Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Catherine McCabe submitting questions regarding Carl Icahn’s involvement in the Trump White House into the agency’s formal notice and comment process.

 

63. A February 22, 2017 letter from Senator Warren to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin requesting an update into the investigation into President Trump’s advisor Anthony Scaramucci’s meeting with the Chief Executive Office of a sanctioned Russian entity. 

 

64. A February 17, 2017 letter from Senators Murray and Wyden to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price requesting information regarding the decision to eliminate basic information and resources on Healthcare.gov, the website that millions of Americans use to understand, shop for, and purchase health insurance coverage. 

 

65. A February 23, 2017 letter from 13 Senators to President Trump requesting the President to take immediate action to resolve conflicts of interest around trademarks of significant financial value granted to him by the Chinese Government in violation of the Constitution.

 

66. A February 23, 2017 letter from ten Senators to Secretary of State Tillerson requesting that he support stronger international controls on fentanyl precursors.

 

67. A February 23, 2017 letter from 26 Senators to the Commissioners of the Election Assistance Commission requesting information regarding efforts to address cybersecurity threats to our election systems.

 

68. A February 23, 2017 letter from Senators Heinrich and Wyden to the Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo requesting the declassification of information related to Deputy Director Gina Haspel’s background.

 

69. A February 24, 2017 letter from Senator Casey to the Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price with requesting information regarding the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act.

 

70. A February 24, 2017 letter from Senator Tester and Representative Walz to President Trump regarding certain regulations at the Veteran’s Administration that allow the agency to implement federal law in a timely manner.

 

71. A February 24, 2017 letter from Senator Booker to Commerce Secretary Nominee Wilbur Ross requesting information regarding his financial ties to major Russian investors in the Bank of Cyprus.

 

72. A February 24, 2017 letter from Senators Cardin, Feinstein and Reed to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson requesting information regarding the Chinese Government’s decision to grant trademarks to the President Trump. 

 

73. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Markey to Secretary of Agriculture Nominee Sonny Purdue requesting information regarding plans to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities.

 

74. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Markey to Secretary of Commerce Nominee Wilbur Ross requesting information regarding plans to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities.

 

75. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Markey to Secretary of Defense James Mattis requesting information regarding plans to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities.

 

76. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Markey to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos requesting information on plans to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities.

 

77. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Markey to Secretary of Energy Nominee Rick Perry requesting information regarding plans to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities.

 

78. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Markey to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price requesting information regarding plans to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities.

 

79. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Markey to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly requesting information regarding plans to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities.

 

80. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Markey to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Nominee Ben Carson requesting information regarding plans to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities.

 

81. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Markey to Secretary of the Interior Nominee Ryan Zinke requesting information regarding plans to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities.

 

82. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Markey to Secretary of Labor Nominee Alexander Acosta requesting information regarding plans to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities.

 

83. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Markey to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson requesting information regarding plans to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities.

 

84. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Markey to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao requesting information regarding plans to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities.

 

85. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Markey to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin requesting information regarding plans to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities.

 

86. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Markey to Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin requesting information regarding plans to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities.

 

87. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Markey to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt requesting information regarding plans to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities.

 

88. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Warren and Markey to Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon requesting information regarding plans to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities.

 

89. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Wyden and Feinstein to Secretary of Defense James Mattis in opposition to a proposal from the Defense Science Board for the United States to design new nuclear weapons and resume nuclear testing.

 

90. A February 27, 2017 letter from Senators Wyden and Feinstein to Acting Secretary of Energy Grace Bochenek in opposition to a proposal from the Defense Science Board for the United States to design new nuclear weapons and resume nuclear testing.

 

91. A February 28, 2017 letter from 10 Senators to Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting that he demonstrate leadership in combatting hate violence and discrimination by prioritizing funding on relevant programs.

 

92. A March 2, 2017 letter from Senator Casey to Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting his full recusal from any investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections and calling for the appointment of a special counsel or establishment of an independent commission. 

 

93. A March 6, 2017 letter from Senators Wyden, Warner and Tillis to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly requesting that the Department of Homeland Security to conduct and audit of the H-2B visa program and requesting the H-2B petition process be kept open until the entire 66,000 visa cap is met.

 

94. A March 2, 2017 letter from Senators Wyden and Peters to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly requesting that his agency to take swift action in response to the wave of anonymous bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers, Day Schools and Synagogues.

 

95. A March 2, 2017 letter from Senators Wyden and Peters to Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting that his agency take swift action in response to the wave of anonymous bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers, Day Schools and Synagogues.

 

96. A March 2, 2017 letter from Senators Wyden and Peters to FBI Director James Comey requesting that the FBI to take swift action in response to the wave of anonymous bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers, Day Schools and Synagogues.

 

97. A March 3, 2017 letter from five Senators to Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz requesting an investigation into Attorney general Jeff Session’s decision to recuse himself from any investigations into Russian interference into the 2016 election and ties to the Trump campaign, and his involvement in those investigations prior to his recusal.

 

98. A March 3, 2017 letter from Senators Murray, Warren and Sanders to Acting Assistant Attorney General for Environment and Natural Resources Jeffery Wood calling for a criminal investigation into federal contractor Halter Marine for repeated workplace deaths.

 

99. A March 3, 2017 letter from Senators Tester and Isakson and Representatives Walz and Roe to Secretary for Veterans Affairs David Shulkin in response to reports of up to 440,000 health benefits applications being closed due to error and requesting that he take steps to correct these errors and extend enrollment.  

 

100. A March 3, 2017 letter from Senators McCaskill and Carper to White House Counsel Don McGahn requesting information regarding the White House’s compliance with the Presidential Records Act. 

 

101. A March 6, 2017 letter from eight Senators to President Trump calling on the White House to extend the policy of releasing White House visitor logs to cover Mar-a-Lago and other Trump properties such as Trump Tower.

 

102. A March 6, 2017 letter from eight Senators to Deputy Secret Service Director William Callahan requesting information regarding what steps are being taken to extend the policy of releasing White House visitor logs to cover Mar-a-Lago and other Trump properties such as Trump Tower.

 

103. A March 7, 2017 letter from Senator Cantwell to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke asserting that postponement of the Coal Royalty Valuation Rule is unlawful.

 

104. A March 7, 2017 letter from Senators Wyden and Gillibrand to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly supporting full funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program following an outpouring of hate in the wake of President Trump’s election. 

 

105. A March 7, 2017 letter from Senator Wyden to President Trump requesting that he act swiftly to nominate a qualified commissioner to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as the commission currently lacks a quorum.

 

106. A March 7, 2017 letter from twelve Senators to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt calling on him to protect strong automobile fuel economy emissions standards.

 

107. A March 7, 2017 letter from Senators Carper and McCaskill to the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero requesting information on the White House’s compliance with the Presidential Records Act and the Federal Records Act.

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