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Groups Call on Biden to Ensure That Planning for Possible Presidency Is Transparent and Ethical

Presidential Transition Work, While Usually Quiet, Begins Well Before Election

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden must put in place good governance principles in conducting transition planning for his possible presidency, more than 30 organizations and prominent law professors said today in a letter to the former vice president.

The groups and academics are asking Biden to:

  1. Promptly announce who is managing his transition team and name an ethics czar to ensure that the transition team’s ethics policies are followed.
  2. Develop an ethics policy that minimizes conflict-of-interest risks by: disclosing the financial interests and clients of team members; prohibiting team members from contacting the executive branch for one year after leaving the team if Biden is elected; and stipulating that Biden, if elected, will divest of all assets that could pose a conflict of interest within 30 days of his inauguration.
  3. Follow the policy of President-elect Barack Obama of disclosing transition team meetings with outside groups and publishing documents submitted by outsiders.
  4. Take financial contributions to the transition only from individuals who are U.S. residents and who are not lobbyists.
  5. Outline sound vetting processes for potential nominees.
  6. Build on innovations of Obama’s transition team.

Presidential transitions are quasi-official governmental functions that receive public funding and resources. The law recognizes the need for White House aspirants to begin transition planning well before elections.

“Because administering a transition is an act of leadership, laying out guidelines for one’s transition team offers a rare opportunity to essentially fulfill campaign promises in real time,” the letter to Biden says. “We ask you to embrace this chance wholeheartedly.”

View the formatted letter and signers.