Aziz Huq on Stonewalling Congress

Stonewalling Congress

Information is the lifeblood of modern government. But in our separation-of-powers system, the executive branch increasingly monopolizes knowledge about how federal law is administered and, especially, how its awesome coercive powers are deployed. This knowledge, worryingly, is increasingly concentrated in the White House. More and more, legislators—and hence the voting public—risk flying blind when facing an empowered presidency.

First, it has stonewalled congressional inquiries in newly minted—and newly successful—ways. Second, it has used the removal power to dismantle internal rule-of-law mechanisms, particularly inspectors general that support Congress’s oversight. To pivot back to a government that competently serves the people at large based on expertise and within the law, these opacities need cracking.

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President Trump