Rep. Baldwin Calls for Executive Branch Accountability to Reverse Illegal Actions and Prevent Further Abuses

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin has introduced the Executive Branch Accountability Act of 2009 (H.Res. 417), calling on President Obama to reverse the damaging and illegal actions taken by the Bush/Cheney Administration and to collaborate with Congress to proactively prevent any further abuses of executive branch power.

“Over the past several years, serious questions have been raised about the conduct of high ranking Bush/Cheney Administration officials in relation to some of the most basic elements of our democracy: respect for the rule of law, the principle of checks and balances, and the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights,” said Baldwin. “We must restore Americans’ faith that in a democracy, we follow the rule of law and that nobody – even the President and Vice President of the United States – is above the law,” Baldwin said.

“President Obama has already begun the work of reaffirming American values of justice and freedom. I commend him for his orders to close the detention facility at Guantanamo and prohibit illegal and immoral interrogation techniques. President Obama’s efforts to renew America must also include restoring executive branch accountability. We had an administration that spied on Americans, outed a covert intelligence agent, suspended habeas corpus, held people without charges and without access to counsel, and used torture and rendition. This measure lists steps President Obama can take to proactively prevent any further abuses of executive branch power and restore the public’s faith in our government,” Baldwin said.

The Executive Branch Accountability Act of 2009 calls on President Obama to:
* Affirm our nation’s commitment to uphold the Constitution;
* Fully investigate Bush/Cheney administration officials’ alleged crimes and hold them accountable for any illegal acts;
* Hold accountable Bush/Cheney Administration officials who showed or show contempt for the legal duty to comply with Congressional subpoenas; disclosed the identity of any covert intelligence agent; pursued politically-motivated prosecutions;
* Ensure that any Bush/Cheney administration official guilty of a war crime is prosecuted under the War Crimes Act and the Anti-Torture Act;
* Affirm that it is the sole legal right of Congress to declare war;
* Criminalize lying to Congress and the American public about the reasons for going to war;
* Restore the writ of habeas corpus as an essential principle of our democracy;
* Ensure that torture and rendition are uniformly prohibited under United States law;
* Responsibly close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp;
* Ensure that Americans can bring claims against their government;
* Immediately take affirmative steps to protect all Bush/Cheney Administration documents;
* Publicly review potential abuses of the presidential pardon process; and
* Further reform the use of presidential signing statements.

A copy of the Executive Branch Accountability Act of 2009 as introduced can be found in this PDF.

Congresswoman Baldwin explains why she feels this bill is necessary:


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