Democrats start to flex new power on Trump Administration oversight

Two weeks before Democrats officially take charge of the U.S. House, one key lawmaker sent out over four dozen letters on Wednesday to various branches of the Trump Administration, reiterating demands for documents made during the last two years, and previewing a taste of what will be much more rigorous Congressional oversight for President Donald Trump in the 116th Congress.

"These are documents that even the Republicans on the Oversight Committee — at least at some point in time — believed we needed to conduct effective oversight," said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who will be the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee next year.

"As Democrats prepare to take the reins in Congress, we are insisting — as a basic first step — that the Trump Administration and others comply with these Republican requests," Cummings added.

Immigrant Child Separations 

Flint Water Crisis 

Emoluments and Payments from Foreign Governments 

Security Clearances 

White House and Cabinet Member Travel 

EPA Misconduct 

Federal Records Act Compliance 

Presidential Records Act Compliance 

Whistleblower Protection

The letters from Cummings have repetitive theme.

"As you know, Democrats will be in the majority in the House of Representatives beginning in January," Cummings writes, asking various Cabinet members and federal agency heads for information which was already requested by the GOP in 2017 and 2018.

"I intend to continue this investigation," Cummings adds.

One set of letters deals with the use of government-owned aircraft for personal travel, the use of private jets for official travel, and the cost to taxpayers - as Cummings asks most of the President's Cabinet for information on their travel spending.

Cummings also is pressing for information about the travel of former Trump Cabinet members like ex-EPA chief Scott Pruitt, who resigned from his post earlier this year.

Letters also went out on how the Trump Administration has dealt with the children of illegal immigrants, as Cummings will soon be in the position to follow up on these letters with actual subpoenas for documents.

It's just a taste of how things will be different for the Trump Administration, which faced little in the way of serious Congressional oversight during 2017 and 2018.

About the Author