House Democrats introduced a bill Monday to ensure White House staffers can come forward and report “wrongdoing” from inside the administration even if they are subject to a nondisclosure agreement (NDA).
Rep. Raja KrishnamoorthiSubramanian (Raja) Raja KrishnamoorthiBiden under pressure to ratchet up vaccine aid It's time to put patients and taxpayers ahead of transplant industry opportunists House subcommittee presses Johnson & Johnson on plan to offload baby powder liabilities MORE (D-Ill.) filed the legislation in response to testimony last week from President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE's former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who said it was common practice in the Trump campaign and White House to have staffers sign NDAs. Reports have also surfaced in recent months saying signing NDAs was often a prerequisite for employment.
“Congress has a duty to provide oversight over this administration, and protecting whistleblowers is a crucial part of that,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement Tuesday.
“This legislation clarifies that any non-disclosure agreements signed by White House employees do not cover actions protected by federal whistleblower law, and ensures that those in the Administration with knowledge of wrongdoing will not be afraid to speak the truth.”
House Republicans blocked similar legislation that Krishnamoorthi, who sits on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, introduced in Congress’s last session. The current House Democratic leadership has not yet signaled if they intend to hold a vote on the bill.
Krishnamoorthi focused much of his own questioning of Cohen last week on discussing NDAs that were signed by people in Trump’s orbit.
“Would you agree that in the use of these types of NDAs, with this type of language, and later when Donald Trump sought to enforce them, that he intended to prevent people from coming forward with claims of wrongdoing?” the Illinois Democrat asked.
“Yes,” Cohen replied.
Trump has repeatedly responded to embarrassing stories told by former staffers by citing NDAs they signed.
A low level staffer that I hardly knew named Cliff Sims wrote yet another boring book based on made up stories and fiction. He pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer. He signed a non-disclosure agreement. He is a mess!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2019
Wacky Omarosa already has a fully signed Non-Disclosure Agreement!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2018