Non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs, have been around for decades. Politico just discovered them, now that Donald Trump is the President Elect, complete with a Grumpy Trump photo:
Trump transition team members had to sign a code of ethics with a pretty significant lobbying ban, but they’ve also had to sign a non-disclosure agreement to make certain they keep all of their work confidential, according to a copy obtained by POLITICO.
The agreement legally bars transition staffers from disclosing info about major portions of the transition work, like policy briefings, personnel material, donor info, fundraising goals, budgets, contracts, or any draft research papers. It also demands that if anyone on the team suspects a colleague of leaking material, he or she must tell transition team leadership. And it gives the Trump team grounds to tell those who run afoul of the rules: “You’re fired.”
That’s usually the case when you don’t honor an NDA: you lose your job.
This practice of using a non-disclosure agreement dates back to the Trump campaign and even his businesses.
Well, heavens to Betsy!
Politico’s staff and writers may not be familiar with NDAs, but they are common practice in the private sector, and have been for years. There are jobs where I had to sign an NDA in order to apply, due to the sensitive nature of the job. To this day I still abide by those NDAs.
Politico’s unnamed “good government experts” bemoan
the way Trump’s prolific use of non-disclosure agreements in business and the campaign could hurt government transparency if the pattern continued. the way Trump’s prolific use of non-disclosure agreements in business and the campaign could hurt government transparency if the pattern continued.
even while they admit that (emphasis added),
the Trump transition’s application page indicates: “One should assume that all of the information provided during this process is ultimately subject to public disclosure, if requested under the Freedom of Information Act.”
No NDA is going to protect you from FOIA. No NDA places you above the law, either. You don’t need to have a law degree to know that.
However, it makes you wonder if Politico and their “good government experts” are displeased that they can not easily place one of their employees in Trump’s transition team.
The guys at Jezebel (look them up, I’m not linking) are frazzled and say “this is not what a democracy looks like. This is something far worse.”
I wonder where their outrage was while the Dems locked out the GOP when they passed Obamacare.
November 6, 2015: Clinton Signed NDA Laying OutCriminal Penalties for Mishandling of Classified Info, but in her case it was meaningless.
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.