Policy Solution

Preventing the president from abusing their power for personal gain

Congress must reassert itself as a co-equal branch of government and fulfill its constitutionally mandated oversight of the executive branch.


The problem:

For decades, Congress has ceded more and more of its power to the executive branch, hobbling the legislative branch’s ability to fulfill its constitutionally mandated oversight of the executive branch. This trend undermines the rule of law, and fails to hold presidents of both parties accountable for overreaches or abuses of power.

In order to restore the system of checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution, Congress must reassert itself as a co-equal branch of government.

Solutions: 

To address executive branch abuse of power, Congress should:

  • Assert and strengthen its right to subpoena power
  • Enforce the Emoluments clause of the Constitution that prevents the president from receiving gifts or payments from foreign governments
  • Strengthen Inspector General independence

Congress must also codify safeguards that were previously based on norms, such as preventing the office of the presidency from being used to make money, or making appointments based on nepotism rather than merit.

Examples of legislation that would address these and related issues include the Protecting Our Democracy Act (PODA).

Learn more our executive branch ethics work.