Special Project

Accountability and Oversight

Preserving Separation of Powers and the Rule of Law

The special project on Government Accountability and Oversight seeks to safeguard the rule of law and the checks and balances established by the Constitution, regardless of which party controls the White House or the chambers of Congress.

Promoting Checks and Balances

The Constitution requires each branch of government to check and balance the others and to obey the law. But after decades of erosion, the democratic norms and institutions meant to curtail corruption and wrongdoing, and mismanagement are in need of support and defense. In an environment of hyper-partisanship, declining public trust in government, and expanding presidential powers, it is critical that Congress reassert itself by conducting meaningful oversight of the executive branch, and that civil society organizations are fully equipped to defend the rule of law.

The special project on Government Accountability and Oversight pursues a practical, nonpartisan approach to strengthen the norms, institutions, and oversight tools that hold our government accountable to the American people. We support organizations that:

  • Engage in strategic litigation to defend the rule of law
  • Train congressional staff on effective, bipartisan oversight of the executive branch
  • Prepare for and respond to constitutional crises by conducting research, consulting cross-partisan experts, and bringing new voices to the debate
  • Provide independent fact-checking, enhance transparency of government, and expose lobbying by foreign powers
  • Protect the rights and safety of whistleblowers and promote their revelations
  • Investigate and enforce rules on ethics violations, conflicts of interest, and other forms of government corruption and wrongdoing
  • Build capacity of government entities, such as Inspectors General, charged with informing and monitoring government

Our investments engage bipartisan coalitions to defend the rule of law when it is under threat while developing systemic reforms for the future.

Explore Our Other Governance Strategies

Governance program strategies include efforts to strengthen congressional capacity to legislate and perform oversight, as well as measures to protect the rule of law and check executive power. They also include experiments to mitigate polarization, promote pluralism, and advance shared American priorities and values.

Learn more about our Governance program

Constructive Politics

Heightened polarization shuts down dialogue across political ideologies, ethnicities, and faith communities — and many Americans don’t see themselves in the policies that shape our lives. The Constructive Politics strategy explores what unites us while helping governing institutions become more diverse, inclusive, and better able to serve all Americans.

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Empowering Congress

As the first branch of government described in the Constitution, the U.S. Congress bears the greatest responsibility to represent the will of the people in our democracy. But stymied by partisan gridlock and drained of resources, personnel, and expertise, Congress has abdicated power to other branches of government in recent decades and falls short of fulfilling its constitutional duties.

Learn more about this effort