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Tue Jan 31, 2017, 01:47 PM

A question For DU Lawyers. esp. those with Constitutional/Government Expertise.

Is it legal to force/coerce/ask Legislative branch employees to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement with the Executive Branch?

Two article from Politico mentions that this has happened. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/trump-immigration-congress-order-234392
"Like other congressional committees, some staff of the House Judiciary Committee were permitted to offer their policy expertise to the Trump transition team about immigration law," a House Judiciary Committee aide said in a statement. "However, the Trump Administration is responsible for the final policy decisions contained in the executive order and its subsequent roll-out and implementation.

The work of the committee aides began during the transition period after the election and before Donald Trump was sworn in. The staffers signed nondisclosure agreements, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Trump's transition operation forced its staff to sign these agreements, but it would be unusual to extend that requirement to congressional employees. Rexrode declined to comment on the nondisclosure pacts.


and this: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/bob-goodlatte-staff-trump-immigration-order-234424

The Virginia Republican told lawmakers that he approved his staff to work for the Trump transition team. He said his staff gave policy advice but their work for Trump officials ended on Jan. 20, the day of the inauguration.

He also told lawmakers his staff had no input on the timing or the rollout of the immigration order, which bans travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries and halts the refugee program.

POLITICO reported Monday night that Goodlatte staffers helped the administration craft the executive order but did not inform their chairman or GOP leaders on the Hill of their work on the policy. Sources said the staffers signed nondisclosure agreements so they could not talk about what they were working on.

Goodlatte's staff has said he was unaware of the executive action. And his staff has not responded to multiple questions about their signing of nondisclosure agreements, which would bar them from discussing the controversial policy with their boss or republican leadership.


I cannot believe this is normal or legal, and that is why If anyone is a lawyer, I would love input.

17 replies, 1654 views

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Response to Raine1967 (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 01:51 PM

1. 'Forcing' wouldn't be proper.

I just read that Goodlatte thinks so highly of his staff that he happily provided them to assist in the transition.


Rep. Goodlatte Explains Why His Staff Helped On Trump's Executive Order

Source: Talking Points Memo

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10141685143

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 02:09 PM

5. and now they can't talk to thier boss or the press, it seems.

Goodlatte's staff has said he was unaware of the executive action. And his staff has not responded to multiple questions about their signing of nondisclosure agreements, which would bar them from discussing the controversial policy with their boss or republican leadership.


There is something really bothersome here.

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Response to Raine1967 (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 02:38 PM

10. "something really bothersome here"

Two words: Bob Goodlatte

His congressional district is next to mine, and I have lots of friends who, much to their dismay, are represented by him. He and my rep, Morgan Griffith, make my skin crawl.

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Response to dgibby (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 02:46 PM

12. IT's all disturbing.

Waving to you from NoVa.

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Response to Raine1967 (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 03:19 PM

16. I'm an '81 grad of GMU.

Lived in Annandale and was there for the blizzard. I grew up in Clifton Forge (Alleghany Co), but never saw that much snow at one time in my life!

I moved back home after 22 years in the Navy (Nurse Corps) and another 20 in the SC Lowcountry. I love Virginia, don't want to live anywhere else, but would be happier if we could get rid of more of these Republicans. They're giving the state a bad name.

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Response to dgibby (Reply #16)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 03:25 PM

17. Waves southward!

moved here after a few years in Atlanta. Prior to that, I had been an NYS resident my entire life. Been here 7.5 years. I missed NYS when I was in Georgia, I don't miss it now that I am in Virginia.

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Response to Raine1967 (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 01:51 PM

2. Not a lawyer but question

Was it illegal for the staffers and whoever they were working with to sign non-closure?

Is it legal to craft policy without saving any communications and work papers?

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Response to cheyanne (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 01:56 PM

4. I think you have found 2 areas. Communications needs must be saved. And staffers work for Govt

 

not the person occupying the office.

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Response to cheyanne (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 02:10 PM

6. This is part of what I am trying to get info about.

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Response to Raine1967 (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 01:56 PM

3. I haven't researched the issue in any depth, but I do not believe it is legal.

Government employees can be required to sign agreements not to disclose classified or other sensitive information but they can't be forced to sign all-encompassing NDAs. Of course they can be fired (unless they are Civil Service employees). Here's an article addressing the issue: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/11/16/trump-can-t-legally-make-new-staff-sign-ndas-yet.html

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 02:11 PM

7. Thank you. Off to reading it now.

One of the big questions I have is about the fact that these are not trump staff, They are Hill staffers.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 02:11 PM

8. It sounds like the President can require NDA of Executive Branch

employees w/o making it a law, but what is Bannon's status in this?

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Response to cheyanne (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 02:17 PM

9. How can the Executive Branch ask for an NDA from an employee of the Legislative branch?

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Response to Raine1967 (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 02:46 PM

11. If they were voluntarily serving in that capacity their service could be contingent upon NDA

Depending on the terms of the NDA, of course. The terms would have to be legal.

I don't think they could be forced to sign a general NDA as a condition of their EMPLOYMENT. Signing limited NDAs as a condition of working on a particular project, yes.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #11)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 02:48 PM

13. Exec to Legislative?

I sure would love to see what that NDA said.

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Response to Raine1967 (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 02:56 PM

14. The Constitution and practice provide for consultation/cooperation between Legislative & Executive

That is both implicit (getting bills passed, structuring policy) and explicit (advice & consent).

So in an advisory/consultation role, this doesn't seem that controversial. Generally anything an elected Representative or Senator may do, they may have their staff do.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #14)

Tue Jan 31, 2017, 03:12 PM

15. Thank you for the input.

Appreciated.

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