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Democracy Awards

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier

Representing the 11th District of California

Oversight & Accountability

Americans deserve an efficient and effective government that meets the needs of hardworking families, now and into the future. In a time when many have grown cynical about how their hard-earned tax dollars are spent, Congressman DeSaulnier strives to rebuild public trust in government through transparency, accountability, and a higher-level of customer service. Mark supports policies that promote evidence-based decision making to ensure that government investments offer the highest return for our taxpayers and citizens. Mark has been a longtime champion of performance measures, which create quantifiable goals that keep government agencies on track and working towards their missions. Improved government oversight and accountability is key to making the most of our investments to create quality healthcare and education, clean air and water, and a strong economy for all Americans.

Working for You

Mark has worked to safeguard the public from bait & switch corporate malfeasance by calling on the Department of Justice to conduct a criminal investigation into allegations that Volkswagen AG purposefully evaded California’s air quality standards.

Congressman DeSaulnier has pursued federal investigations of Big Oil’s fraudulent claims related to the dangers of climate change by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

To improve transparency and responsiveness across the federal government, Congressman DeSaulnier is also a sponsor of the bipartisan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Oversight and Implementation Act (H.R. 653). This bill would require federal agencies to make information more easily available to the public by posting documents online, and making a number of changes to improve transparency in government.

Chemical Safety Board

The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) plays a critical role in overseeing refinery safety, and investigated the 2012 Chevron Refinery Fire in Richmond, where they made recommendations vital to preventing future incidents.

When the EPA Inspector General and an independent review of CSB concluded that serious management issues existed within the organization in 2015, Congressman DeSaulnier, along with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, and President Obama called for the resignation of the former chairman due to revelations of agency mismanagement. Since that time, the Congressman has been actively ensuring that the CSB rebuilds public trust by engaging industry partners and communities and promoting a proactive, preventative safety approach.

Transportation Oversight and Accountability

Mark has carried on his legacy of oversight in transportation with the introduction of the Megaprojects Accountability and Oversight Act (H.R. 4228). This bipartisan legislation would improve the delivery of large projects (over $2.5 billion) by applying the best practice principles learned from past megaprojects to all future highway transportation megaprojects. This bill helps address planning fallacies that often occur in large public works projects through peer review and comprehensive risk management. The Megaprojects Accountability and Oversight Act would require administering agencies of transportation megaprojects costing over $2.5 billion to improve project oversight by establishing both a peer review group and a comprehensive risk management plan. 

To improve accountability in transportation planning, Congressman DeSaulnier authored the bipartisan Metropolitan Planning Enhancement Act (H.R. 3787). This legislation improves transparency and accountability of transportation planning by requiring planning organizations to carefully invest American’s hard-earned tax dollars on infrastructure projects that help accomplish established statewide and regional transportation goals, rather than selecting projects based on political expedience or insider connections.