De-Trumpification, Part 5: We Need Real Watchdogs

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9 mins read

Every federal department has an Inspector General (IG) as an overseer meant to work within, but independently of, their agency to detect and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse. The Inspector General Act, enacted during the Carter administration, requires IGs to be appointed without regard to political affiliation, solely on the basis of integrity and demonstrated ability, and prohibits heads of agencies from interfering in IG investigations. For the past 44 years, each IG has reported to both the head of the agency they oversee and to Congress, to maintain balance and transparency between our co-equal branches of government. 

The January 6th Committee hearings and subsequent reports have revealed that Trump appointees within the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) assisted the violent invasion of our Capitol building. Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller and his Chief of Staff Kash Patel; Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolff; and Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cucinelli, appointed late in Trump’s term of office, prioritized his corrupt wishes over those of Congress and the American people.

Unfortunately, the Inspectors General of those two departments, Joseph Cuffari and Sean O’Donnell, are also Trump appointees. Far from operating as independent overseers, they have instead aided and abetted the insurrection by allowing essential evidence to be destroyed. Both have claimed the deletion of text messages from January 2021 was a coincidence due to pre-scheduled data migration and equipment upgrades.

Much as we may have wished that electing a new president would usher in a new era of responsible, accountable government, it’s clear that we need more proactive de-Trumpification. Holdovers from the Trump era do not share our values. They need to be replaced to build back a better government with civil servants who serve all of us, not the whims of the corrupt former chief executive.

Contact President Biden and your Senators. Tell the President to immediately appoint new Acting IGs for Defense and Homeland Security, and ask your Senators to demand the appointment and confirmation of permanent new IGs.

Thank our MoCs for Climate Action, Fairer Taxation, and More 

Consistent passionate activism, from the campaign of 2020 on, has nudged President Biden and Democrats in the 117th Congress toward bolder action to avert climate catastrophe. Most Democrats understand that renewable energy and sustainable development are safer for all communities than continued fossil fuel use, and that the transition will improve our economy by creating millions of jobs.

After watching the 50/50 Senate carve Build Back Better into two bills and pass just one of them, many people lost hope that this Congress could pass a bill that would invest over $350 billion in climate solutions and environmental justice. We find our hope renewed this week as our Senators have done just that. We expect House Democrats to pass the Inflation Reduction Act and send it to President Biden to sign.

We agree with advocates from environmental nonprofit Earthjustice that “there would be painful provisions in any bill that could get Sen. Joe Manchin’s support, and the bill contains some troubling giveaways to fossil fuel interests that will cause undue harm to communities in the Gulf and Alaska. As a whole, however, it would be a huge step forward in the fight to preserve a livable planet and is one we need to take while we have the chance.”

We also appreciate knowing this action will be financed in large part by establishing a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations and rebuilding the IRS’s enforcement budget to bring in all the revenue owed by the wealthiest among us. 

Thank our Senators for getting this bill passed and urge our House Representatives to pass it promptly.

The midterm election is coming—time to get out the vote!

It’s August, which means we now have less than two months to start getting out the vote for the midterm elections before California voters get ballots in early October.

There are already GOTV opportunities for the last few states’ primaries and special elections around the country. We’ll soon see campaigns spinning up to reach voters for the general election. Whatever you want to write, text bank, phone bank, or canvass for, there’s definitely something for you to do, and there will be all the way through November.

We’ll continue to promote select local voter outreach events here and on our Events page. As October gets closer, we’ll update our Vote page with information on voter outreach actions and on how you can vote in the October–November general election.

If you’re interested in participating in activities like drafting letters to our Members of Congress and developing our strategy for influencing them, the Indivisible SF Federal Working Group is where it happens. Our next meeting is on Thursday, Aug. 11. Details on how to register below.

ISF Federal Working Group meeting: Thursday, Aug. 11, 7:30–9 PM. Register here to join our regular Zoom meeting, where we work together to develop strategies for influencing our Members of Congress and the Biden administration to support a progressive agenda. All are welcome to participate and contribute, even if you’ve never attended an ISF meeting before.

Bay Area Coalition Phone Banks: Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Help our friends at Swing Left talk to voters about the upcoming primaries and midterms. Join Swing Left and the Bay Area Coalition on Wednesday evenings, Saturday mornings, and Sunday afternoons to make calls to voters in California and around the nation. Sign up for a shift:

  • TODAY, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 5–7 PM
  • Saturday, Aug. 13, 10 AM–12 PM
  • Sunday, Aug. 14, 1–3 PM

Voter registration drive in the California Central Valley with Swing Left: Saturdays. Swing Left needs your help registering voters in Central Valley CD-13 and CD-22, from Modesto to Bakersfield. They will conduct door-to-door and COVID-safe canvassing to register voters every weekend until Tuesday, November 8. Sign up here:

  • Saturday, Aug. 13, 9 AM–3:30 PM
  • Saturday, Aug. 20, 9 AM–3:30 PM
  • Saturday, Aug. 27, 9 AM–3:30 PM

About this week’s photo

If you’ve seen our newsletter posts on Twitter and Facebook, you might have noticed that we include a photo or graphic with each issue.

Today’s image is a photo of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at a press conference in support of the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed the Senate last week. The photo was taken by Drew Angerer for Getty Images and was featured in an SF Chronicle article about the bill

Keep Fighting,

The Indivisible SF Team

If you’d like to support our all-volunteer team:

DONATE HERE


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Since the January 2017, more than 4,000 San Franciscans have united as Indivisible SF to march in the Women's Marches, protest the Muslim Ban, meet regularly with our Members of Congress, and make thousands of phone calls to their offices to pressure them to do everything in their power to counter the policies and politics of Trumpism. There is much work in progress and many actions to come.

Members of Indivisible SF are defined by our action and find solidarity in our shared opposition to Trump and Trumpism. Each of us explicitly reserves our individual stances on specific issues for other forums as we believe resisting Trump is more important than any single issue. We adhere to a Code of Conduct that welcomes and respects everybody.

Members of Indivisible SF come from all kinds of backgrounds and political persuasions. Some of us are first-time activists and others have been at this for decades. We are citizens and non-citizens. Most importantly, we are all patriots that want the best for our country and are willing to work for it.

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