Launched in March 2017, American Oversight (AO) is a Washington-based 501(c)(3) judicial-activist and litigation organization that describes itself as “a non-partisan, nonprofit ethics watchdog” and “the top Freedom Of Information Act [FOIA] litigator investigating the Trump administration.” “From President Trump’s failure to divest from his business empire to cabinet secretaries using their taxpayer-funded positions for their personal benefit,” said AO in 2018, “the Trump administration has been plagued by scandal, misconduct, and conflicts of interest.” By the end of that year, AO had filed more than 60 public-records lawsuits against Trump and his allies – suits designed to “uncover misconduct that otherwise would not see daylight” and to “harness the independent power of the courts to force the administration to obey the law.” Moreover, AO had filed more than 100 targeted FOIA requests “seeking documents likely to be investigated” by a House of Representatives that, for the first time in eight years, had fallen into Democrat control in the November 2018 midterm elections.
In 2018, AO was particularly active in opposing the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. That July, AO joined the judicial-activist group Fix The Court in filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Justice Department seeking documents from Kavanaugh’s tenure as a White House Staff Secretary during the George W. Bush Administration.
For a comprehensive list of the many investigations which AO has launched against President Trump and his administration, click here.
AO’s personnel consists entirely of committed Democrat activists, attorneys, strategists, and political operatives, many of whom have close ties to the Party’s most powerful figures and to organizations that promote all manner of Democrat agendas. Below is a list of some of AO’s key players during 2017-18:
- Executive Director Austin Evers served as Senior Counsel in the U.S. State Department under President Barack Obama.
- Chief Counsel John Bies spent eight years in the Obama Administration’s Justice Department – first as Counselor to Attorney General Eric Holder, and then as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel.
- Senior Advisor Melanie Sloan is a former federal prosecutor and Capitol Hill staffer who has worked for Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Joe Biden, and Rep. John Conyers. Sloan also founded Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), and is an Advisory Board member of Restore Public Trust.
- Counsel Cerissa Cafasso served in the Obama Administration’s Labor Department as Counselor to the Deputy Secretary and to the Solicitor.
- Communications Associate Lane Corrigan was formerly a press intern for the Democratic staff of the Senate Homeland Security and the Governmental Affairs Committee during Barack Obama’s presidency.
- Deputy Director for Outreach and Operations Ty Diringer worked on Hillary Clinton‘s 2016 presidential campaign.
- Investigations Director Miranda Keating formerly served as the Research Director at People For the American Way, where she headed that organization’s “Right Wing Watch” project.
- Communications Director Clark Pettig oversaw communications in Michigan and Virginia for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.
- Investigative Counsel Sarah Studley was once employed by David Brock‘s American Bridge 21st Century; she also served as Counsel and Senior Policy Adviser to the Michigan Senate Democrats.
- Web Editor Amanda Teuscher was formerly the Managing Editor at The American Prospect magazine.
- Digital Associate Christina Tudor previously organized events and created social media plans for her local Planned Parenthood branch; worked as a Communications Intern at the Institute for Public Accuracy; and served as a Civic Engagement Intern and Fellow at “Young People For,” a program of the People For the American Way Foundation.
AO Board Member Caroline Fredrickson also serves as the current President of the American Constitution Society. She previously was the Chief of Staff to Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell; the Deputy Chief of Staff to Democratic Senator Tom Daschle; the Director of the ACLU’s Washington legislative office; and the General Counsel to NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Another AO Board Member, Kyle Herrig, is the Director of Research and Strategic Communications at the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity that took in $358 million in 2016 and has funneled millions of dollars to left-wing advocacy groups like Media Matters for America and the Center for American Progress.
Further Reading: AmericanOversight.org (“About [AO]“; “[American Oversight’s] Board“); “The Trump ‘Ethics’ Resistance” (by Kimberly Strassel, Wall Street Journal, 12-28-2018); “American Oversight” (InfluenceWatch.org); “The Left’s Judicial Watch Knockoffs Targeting Trump” (Capital Research Center, 12-28-2018).