CLC Calls for Biden Administration To Restore Government Accountability Through Ethics Reforms

Joe Biden speaking while holding a microphone in front of a large American flag
Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaking with attendees at an event in Des Moines, Iowa on August 10, 2019. Credit: Gage Skidmore.

Campaign Legal Center (CLC) has joined a nonpartisan coalition, Open the Government, in calling on the Biden administration to implement an agenda of robust ethics reforms. The agenda, called Accountability 2021, includes a broad range of accountability principles that are designed to guide executive and legislative priorities for the incoming administration.

The purpose of these recommendations is to ensure that many of the ethics norms and laws that have been eroded over time are restored.

They recognize that our democracy depends on eliminating regulatory capture, implementing robust disclosure that helps the public discern conflicts of interest, and restoring the public’s trust that government is working for them and not special interests.

The incoming administration can make meaningful ethics reforms through executive action on day one as well as longer-term action and legislative fixes using these recommendations as a guide.

Specifically, on the ethics front, the recommendations include ways the Biden administration can prioritize ethics and center ethical government service to ensure the government is acting in the best interest of the public.

The new administration should appoint a Chief Accountability Officer who can coordinate the administration’s ethics agenda. The Biden administration should implement an ethics executive order that includes an ethics pledge, required to be signed by all senior political appointees.

The recommendations also call on the Biden administration to prioritize ethics disclosure and lobbyist disclosure reform. The public has a right to know what wealthy special interests are influencing executive branch decision making and are lobbying elected officials.

The new administration should establish a Lobbying Reform Task Force to help guide lobbying disclosure reforms.

These recommendations and others are available on the Accountability 2021 website.

Delaney is the Director, Ethics at CLC.