14 episodes

The Continuous Action explores the ongoing labor of democracy through conversations with those who do that work every day.
Join Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, as he talks with journalists, activists, government leaders, and philanthropists about their work — and what it takes to hold our government accountable to the people it serves.
The inspiration for the title “The Continuous Action” comes from the admonition by John Lewis that “freedom is not a state; it is an act.” Speaking of our duty as citizens, he proclaimed: “Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.” 
 
The Continuous Action is sponsored by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), hosted by Walt Shaub, and produced by Myron Kaplan. 
Stay tuned on the latest from POGO: pogo.org/subscribe

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The Continuous Action Walter Shaub

    • Government
    • 4.8 • 52 Ratings

The Continuous Action explores the ongoing labor of democracy through conversations with those who do that work every day.
Join Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, as he talks with journalists, activists, government leaders, and philanthropists about their work — and what it takes to hold our government accountable to the people it serves.
The inspiration for the title “The Continuous Action” comes from the admonition by John Lewis that “freedom is not a state; it is an act.” Speaking of our duty as citizens, he proclaimed: “Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.” 
 
The Continuous Action is sponsored by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), hosted by Walt Shaub, and produced by Myron Kaplan. 
Stay tuned on the latest from POGO: pogo.org/subscribe

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    Over Classified

    Over Classified

    How did classified records wind up in the homes of former President Trump and two former vice presidents, Joe Biden and Mike Pence? In this week’s episode, The Continuous Action explains how the over-classification of government documents contributed to those news stories. 
    The government has been classifying far too many documents — just about everything its intelligence personnel can get their hands on. One time, the government even classified a mountain. (True story!) In this episode, Walt speaks with Elizabeth Goitein, who is senior director for Liberty and National Security at The Brennan Center. Elizabeth shares an alarming account of just how badly things have gone wrong and how overclassification hurts our democracy. 
    For transcript and show notes, visit: pogo.org/podcasts/the-continuous-action

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 18 min
    Courting Disaster

    Courting Disaster

    The Supreme Court has an ethics problem. The Project on Government Oversight’s Sarah Turberville and David Janovsky join Walt to discuss the need for a code of conduct for the highest court in the United States.
    The court’s legitimacy relies on the public’s faith in the institution, and it’s clear the American people believe the court has been politicized. It’s easy to see why. Private, secretive groups spend money on campaigns in support of Supreme Court nominees while justices have accepted lavish gifts from prominent political donors.
    The ethics lapses don’t stop there: Justices have no clear rules requiring them to recuse from cases in which they have conflicts of interest, and several justices have inappropriately commented on politics.
    There’s one thing that could go a long way in restoring the public’s trust in the Supreme Court: a code of ethics. Sarah Turberville, the director of The Constitution Project at POGO, and David Janovsky, a policy analyst at POGO, talk with Walt about just how problematic it is for the Supreme Court to operate without a code of ethics, and they propose a path forward.
    For transcript and show notes, visit: pogo.org/podcasts/the-continuous-action


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    • 24 min
    Infiltrated!

    Infiltrated!

    A 2015 membership roll for the Oath Keepers, a violent, anti-government extremist group, included hundreds of current or former employees of the Department of Homeland Security. That’s according to a leaked document reviewed by the Project On Government Oversight. Since the creation of the document, members of the Oath Keepers, including its founder Steward Rhodes, have been convicted of seditious conspiracy and other offenses related to the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.
     
    Any connection between this extremist group and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is obviously disturbing — especially considering the department’s role in fighting domestic terrorism. And this list may just be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. An internal study found that “significant gaps” have impeded the department’s ability to “respond to potential threats related to domestic violent extremism within DHS.”
     
    On this episode of The Continuous Action, Virginia Heffernan and Walt Shaub sound the alarm. POGO senior investigator Nick Schwellenbach joins them to share the findings of his investigation into the troubling ties between extremists and the government agencies responsible for protecting the public. 
    For transcript and show notes, visit pogo.org/podcasts/the-continuous-action

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 22 min
    The Authoritarian’s Fist

    The Authoritarian’s Fist

    Imagine a world in which the president had unfettered power to use the massive federal workforce as a weapon against political rivals. In that scenario, federal officials would be forced to serve a political party’s interests instead of the public interest. Your access to federal benefits and services could be slowed or blocked depending on your declared political affiliation. That’s a world that former President Donald Trump tried to make a reality in the final days of his administration. 
    Exploiting a statutory loophole, Trump issued an executive order in October 2020 that could have made tens of thousands of federal employees, maybe hundreds of thousands, fireable at will by political operatives. Public servants could have faced retaliation if they reported corruption or refused to follow unlawful orders. 
    President Joe Biden rescinded the executive order before Trump could implement this new system. But the nation isn’t out of the woods. Congress has failed to close the loophole that made this plan possible. And now, there’s a movement to resurrect it and politicize the civil service. 
    On this episode of The Continuous Action, Virginia Heffernan and Walt Shaub delve into the issue with Rudy Mehrbani, senior director for governance at the Democracy Fund and a former director of the White House’s Office of Presidential Personnel.
    For transcript and show notes, visit pogo.org/podcasts/the-continuous-action

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 23 min
    Anything Goes

    Anything Goes

    Members of Congress write their own rules — and those rules allow stock trades galore!
    In this episode of The Continuous Action, host Walt Shaub dives into topic of congressional stock trading, outlining the problems with the practice and asking the question we’re all thinking: How is this legal? He’s joined by a member of Congress who’s leading a bipartisan coalition working to make sure it won’t stay legal for long.

    The fact is, there’s no way for us to know what our elected representatives learn in closed-door government briefings, or whether they’re profiting from that knowledge. But what we do know is that members of Congress and their immediate families are free to buy and sell stocks while they’re in office, and some of them are turning quite a profit.
     
    Even if they’re all following the rules, the lack of adequate guardrails is enough to shake the public’s faith. And it has: at least one poll shows that more than 70% of voters favor banning congressional stock trading.
     
    To learn more, Walt talks with Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) about the quest to ban congressional stock trading. Spanberger leads a bipartisan coalition of members, including Representative Chip Roy (R-TX), which is fighting to put a congressional stock trading ban in place. They may not agree on much else, but these dozens of members of Congress agree that time has come to stop the trades.
    For transcript and show notes, visit pogo.org/podcasts/the-continuous-action
    **

    Special thanks to Caroline Kenney and Jason Linkins, whose voices appear at the top of this episode.

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    • 29 min
    Banned from Office!

    Banned from Office!

    Is Donald Trump constitutionally disqualified from running for president?  
     
    In this episode of The Continuous Action, Walt Shaub and Virginia Heffernan examine a provision of the Constitution that bans insurrectionists from holding public office. The “disqualification clause” was ratified with the rest of the 14th Amendment just after the Civil War, and it hadn’t been used in the last hundred years — until a recent court case.  
    In 2022, a group of New Mexico citizens filed a suit alleging that a local county commissioner who was involved in the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol should be disqualified from holding office. A state judge agreed, finding that the commissioner’s actions on January 6 qualified as having “engaged in … insurrection.” The judge banned him from ever holding office again.  
     
    To learn more about the case, and what it might mean for others involved in the events of January 6, Virginia and Walt talk to POGO’s own Liz Hempowicz, who co-authored a report on applications of the disqualification clause. They also catch up with one of the lawyers who tried the Griffin case, Donald Sherman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.  
     
    Listen in to learn more about how this important part of the 14th Amendment works, who it might affect, what happened in the New Mexico case, and what’s coming next for candidate Trump. 
    For transcript and show notes, visit pogo.org/podcasts/the-continuous-action

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
52 Ratings

52 Ratings

BMcCay07 ,

Last Episode (?)

I just finished listening to the last episode and I'm hoping it's not really the last one...
I thought the CBP was scary *before* I listened to this episode. Now I'm more afraid.
Virginia and Walt are great hosts bringing really important issues to light. I hope they come back to talk about other important matters. Thanks to both of them!
BTW - What is that *GREAT* theme music?

huckleberry79 ,

If nothing else…

A very imprtant podcast! THANK YOU FOR THIS.

Timotheetee ,

The Single Most Important Podcast To Exist.

Virginia and Walter are two informed inspirations. They, along with excellent and important guests, help shine the flashlight of Ethics into all the dark areas of our Establishment. If everyone listened to this podcast, our country would veer off to a better direction from the path we’re currently on.

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