Thank you for writing. I have heard from many Americans about ways we can fundamentally rethink, reform, and remake our Government so it meets the demands of our times, and I appreciate your perspective.
My Administration is committed to reform that ensures Government serves the public interest rather than special interests. The day after my inauguration, I signed my first Presidential Memorandum, “Transparency and Open Government,” calling for a more transparent, participatory, and collaborative Government that engages with the American people. That same day, I signed an Executive Order that imposes tougher ethics standards on this Administration than any in history. For too long, lobbyists have wielded undue influence, and this Executive Order helps close the “revolving door” between lobbying firms and Government.
We have continued to deliver on our promise of leading an open and accountable Government by launching Ethics.gov—a centralized online database of lobbying reports, ethics information, and campaign finance filings that gives the public unprecedented access to information about how our Government works. In a single, user-friendly format, anyone can access and search millions of records detailing campaign contributions, White House visitor records, and lobbying registrations and reports. Ethics.gov builds on other resources we have implemented to cut down on fraud, waste, and abuse by tracking Government spending, including Data.gov, Recovery.gov, USASpending.gov, andStopFraud.gov.
Additionally, I established the Campaign to Cut Waste in June 2011, which is aggressively rooting out misspent tax dollars, and sent Congress the Consolidating and Reforming Government Act to reinstate the authority past presidents have had to streamline the Executive Branch and create a leaner, more efficient Federal Government. There are currently six major departments and agencies in the Federal Government that focus primarily on business and trade. Consolidating these agencies along with other related programs would improve efficiency and save money. I will continue to develop proposals to make programs more effective and eliminate duplication, overlap, and excess overhead across our Government—improving services for America’s families and businesses and saving billions of taxpayer dollars.
I am also doing everything in my power to help fight the destructive influence of money in politics and rebuild the trust between Washington and the American people. In April 2012, I was proud to sign the historic STOCK Act into law, which prevents Members of Congress from trading stocks based on nonpublic information obtained from their jobs. While this is a step in the right direction, much work remains. The American people also deserve to know who is spending money to influence their votes, so special interests do not drown out the voices of ordinary Americans. And we should limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries they have the power to influence, and make sure people who raise and bundle campaign contributions for Congress are prevented from lobbying Congress.
I am confident that if we continue to join together in pursuit of a fairer society, our Government can uphold our Nation’s founding principles while meeting the demands of the 21st century. To learn more about how we are bringing change to Washington, please visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/21stCenturyGov. Thank you, again, for writing.