The White House has agreed to abide by oversight requests from all members of Congress, not just GOP committee chairmen, Sen. Chuck Grassley announced on Friday.
The Trump administration previously signaled that it would not respond to requests for internal agency data by members of the minority party, prompting furious pushback from Grassley, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, as well as senior Democrats.
But in a letter Grassley (R-Iowa) released Friday, White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said the previous Department of Justice opinion on oversight requests “does not set forth administration policy.”
“The administration’s policy is to respect the rights of all individual members, regardless of party affiliation, to request information about executive branch policies and programs,” Short wrote in the letter to the Iowa Republican senator on July 20.
Short added that he and Grassley agreed during a recent meeting that the administration “has greater obligations in responding to requests from a committee, acting through” either its GOP chair, the majority of lawmakers on the panel, or an alliance between the GOP chair and Democratic ranking member.
Grassley also said President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel, which wrote the controversial opinion, has indicated he would review it.
“This response shows a commitment to follow through on the promise to drain the swamp by fostering more accountability at these federal agencies,” Grassley said in a statement hailing the White House’s response. “When all 535 members of Congress can effectively conduct oversight and get answers, they can better serve the American people.”