Lawmakers demand answers from GSA on transition

image credit: VP Brothers/ 

Image credit: VP Brothers/

Three House Democrats are pressing Emily Murphy, the administrator of the General Services Administration, for answers on why she has not released funds for the presidential transition to support the coming presidential administration.

The GSA administrator plays a key official role in the presidential transition. The administrator is responsible for releasing funds to support the president-elect and the transition team and helping the winning ticket, in the event of a change of administration, obtain briefings about inter-agency challenges. The GSA administrator is designated under law with "ascertaining" the election results to set in motion this process, and the process of the transition sending teams into agencies to prepare for the change of administration.

President Donald Trump has yet to concede the defeat and so far Murphy is following suit, declining to sign off on the apparent victory by former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris.

"An ascertainment has not yet been made," GSA spokesperson Pamela Pennington said in a statement.

In a Nov. 9 letter, Reps. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Dina Titus (D-Nev.) requested a briefing from Murphy on her plans to implement the Presidential Transition Act. Additionally, the trio wants written explanations about why Murphy hasn't acknowledged the "apparent" election outcome and information on whether President Donald Trump or others have directed Murphy to block the launch of transition activities.

"Your actions delaying 'the orderly transfer of the executive power' fly in the face of congressional intent and ignore the will of the people while endangering public health and national security," the legislators wrote.

The advisory board of the nonpartisan Center for Presidential Transition, part of the Partnership for Public Service, urged GSA to launch transition activities immediately.

"While there will be legal disputes requiring adjudication, the outcome is sufficiently clear that the transition process must now begin," four former officials including Josh Bolten, chief of staff under President George W. Bush, said in a Nov. 8 letter.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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