The Trump questions: What will transparency and open government look like in the next White House?


Photo credit: Michael Vadon

Photo credit: Michael Vadon/Flickr
Despite an almost two-year election process, and many queries posed to the candidates, there are still many unanswered questions about president-elect Donald Trump’s priorities and how he plans to govern, mainly because he didn’t line out many policy specifics during the process. Today, we’ve seen some information start to come out about what the priorities might be for the first 100 days.  

Today, our staff met and drafted a list of questions about these priorities, as well as open government and technology issues. Over the next few days, we hope to analyze and provide perspectives on these issue areas but we also thought we would share these with you as well.


How would a Trump administration approach using technology to modernize the federal government? Will a Trump White House continue the work of the U.S. Digital Service at the Office of Management and Budget?

Will a Trump administration uphold the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Rules?

How will President-elect Trump use data in decision-making?

How will the Trump administration use social media to inform and engage the American people? Will the president-elect use @POTUS personally?

Will the Trump administration keep online? Will it keep the Open Government Directive in force?

Will the president-elect keep the executive order making machine-readable the new default in government in force?

Open government

What does the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), an incredible tool for transparency, look like under a Trump administration?

How will the Trump administration approach implementing the reforms to FOIA that Congress enacted this summer? What steps will this administration take to improve upon the record of the Obama administration?

Congress is the ultimate watchdog. Will Congress provide aggressive oversight?

Will the Trump administration continue to participate in the Open Government Partnership? If so, how will a Trump White House approach implementing the National Action Plan?

Will the new administration continue to publish White House visitor logs?

Would a Trump administration fill all of the open inspectors general positions at agencies?

Lobbying and the influence of money

The Trump administration says it wants to get rid of corruption and influence in D.C., but will it follow through with this? And are the plans constitutional? Does the administration have support to pass reform?

Trump is calling to hire from the private sector first, yet wants a ban on lobbyists for five years. Aren’t these conflicting ideas? Will that speed up the revolving door? Will that make shadow lobbying worse?

The FEC is a notoriously deadlocked agency, toothless when it comes to prosecuting campaign finance violations. Will this change under the Trump administration?

Will Trump appoint a Supreme Court justice in favor of overturning Citizens United? Will he favor an SEC regulation requiring disclosure of political contributions to shareholders? Does he support the IRS cracking down on the use of 501(c)(4)s as a campaign vehicle?

Does Trump support requiring the disclosure of beneficial owners of an LLC?


Will the personal attacks on journalists continue? Will Trump follow through with his plans to sue the New York Times for publishing the accounts of women who accused him of sexual assault?

How will Trump handle whistleblowers?

Will there be a White House press corps? Will Trump allow the press corp to travel with him?

Conflicts of interest

What will the Trump Organization look like to ensure there are no conflicts of interest, and how will President-elect Trump handle those conflicts? How will Congress handle those conflicts should they arise?

Trump did not release his tax returns to the public during the campaign. Every president since Richard Nixon has released his returns. Will Trump continue to break with tradition? Also, the IRS audits presidential and vice presidential returns every year. Will Trump ask the IRS not to enforce that rule?

What will happen with the Trump University lawsuit?

Criminal justice

Trump ran on the platform of “law and order.” What does that mean in terms of criminal justice reform, surveillance, profiling and mass incarceration?