Presidential transition resources

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These resources compiled by John Wonderlich and Allison Broad of the Open House Project and the Open Senate Project – initiatives of the Sunlight Foundation. Please add any other resources you think could be helpful.


Presidential Transitions


  • P.L. 106-293 Presidential Transition Act of 2000
    • 114 Stat. 1035
    • Oct. 13, 2000 - "An Act to provide for the training or orientation of individuals, during a Presidential transition, who the President intends to appoint to certain key positions, to provide for a study and report on improving the financial disclosure process for certain Presidential nominees, and for other purposes"
    • Statement on the Presidential Transition Act of 2000 by President Clinton

  • P.L. 100-398 Presidential Transitions Effectiveness Act
    • 102 Stat. 985
    • Aug. 17, 1988 - "An Act to amend the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 to Provide for a more orderly transfer of executive power in connection with the expiration of the term of ooffice of a President"

  • P.L. 88-277 Presidential Transition Act of 1963
    • 78 Stat. 153
    • Mar. 7, 1964 - "An Act to promote the orderly transfer of the executive power in connection with the expiration of the term of office of a President and the inauguration of a new President"

Legislation governing disclosure in chronological and causal order, prepared by the Sunlight Foundation.

CRS Reports

RL33441 Executive Branch Reorganization and Management Initiatives: A Brief Overview - November 26, 2008

RS22992 The President-Elect: Succession and Disability Issues During the Transition Period - November 26, 2008

RL34722 Presidential Transitions: Issues Involving Outgoing and Incoming Administrations - November 25, 2008

RS22979 Presidential Transition Act: Provisions and Funding - October 30, 2008

RL34706 Federal Personnel: Conversion of Employees from Appointed (Noncareer) Positions to Career Positions in the Executive Branch - October 14, 2008

RL34692 Presidential Succession: Perspectives, Contemporary Analysis, and 110th Congress Proposed Legislation - October 3, 2008

RS20752 Submission of the President's Budget in Transition Years - September 15, 2008

RL34456 2008-2009 Presidential Transition: National Security Considerations and Options - April 21, 2008

RL30736 Presidential Transitions - April 3, 2008

RS20709Presidential Transitions: Background and Federal Support - February 11, 2008

98-249 GOV Former Presidents: Federal Pension and Retirement Benefits - March 18, 2008

Congressional Hearings


--The Honorable Clay Johnson, Deputy Director for Management, Office of Management and Budget
--The Honorable Gene L. Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General of the United States, Government Accountability Office
--Gail Lovelace, Chief Human Capital Officer, General Services Administration
--Martha Kumar, Professor, Department of Political Science, Towson University
--Jennifer L. Dorn, President and CEO, The National Academy of Public Administration
--Don Kettl, Professor, Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania
--Patricia McGinnis, President and CEO, The Council for Excellence in Government


--Elaine C. Duke, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Management --Specialist in Terrorism and National Security, Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress --Frank J. Chellino, National Academy of Public Administration, Naples, Florida --Patricia McGinnis, Council for Excellence in Government, Washington, D.C.

--The Honorable Clay Johnson, Deputy Director for Management, Office of Management and Budget
--The Honorable Gene L. Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General of the United States, Government Accountability Office
--Gail Lovelace, Chief Human Capital Officer, General Services Administration

Transition Support

--1105 Government Information Group - particularly helpful on this site is the "Key Players" feature

--Brookings Institution: Memos to the President, Workbook for the President-Elect, Advising the Presidency, Transition Tracker, research and commentary

--Comprehensive transition role round-up from John Kamensky of the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

--Council for Excellence in Government transition portal.

--C-SPAN's transition portal.

--IBM Center for the Business of Government Transition.... and their blog

--Joint Congressional Committee on the Inauguration Ceremonies

--Office of Government Ethics transition portal and their 2009 Transition Guide

--Patton Boggs, LLP has published a comprehensive policy review, entitled "President Elect Barack Obama and the 111th Congress."

--Policy Archive's Presidential Advisory Collection '08

--Presidential Transition Advisory Committee

--Public Citizen's, which tracks the transition and appointees.

--Freedom of Information: How the Obama Administration Will Affect Electronic Journalists - Radio-Television News Directors Association and the Association of Electronic Journalists

--The White House Transition Project

Government Resources

--Addressing the 2009 Presidential Transition at the Department of Homeland Security by the National Academy of Public Administration
--Budget documents for the Fiscal Year 2009, published by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

--The current administration has published a transition fact sheet.
--GAO's 2009 transition portal, 13 Urgent Issues (pdf).
--Government Accountability Office (GAO) Performance and Accountability Report Fiscal Year 2008
--The GSA Transition Directory 2008-2009 Transition Resources
--Official documents by the Obama campaign on Scribd
--Open for Questions and answers from the first round
--Plum Book - United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions for November 2008
--Refocusing Federal Agencies on Mission-Critical Issues: The Federal Employees’ View, a document including recommendations for both administrative and legislative actions, published by the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) on November 19, 2008
--Renewing America's Process by the Democratic National Convention Committee, August 25, 2008
--Teaching tool on the President-Elect's new website that focuses on the transition
--Transition team announcement (with staff list), via CQ.

--The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and their transition portal.

--Your Seat at the Table - "The Obama-Biden Transition Team will be hearing from many groups over the next several weeks. On this page, you can track these meetings, view documents provided to the Transition, and leave comments for the team."

Media Coverage

--"Lost in Transition" - Compilation of coverage by the National Journal Online

--Allen, Mike. "White House begins transition meetings" Politico October 9, 2008. (Includes the text of President Bush’s Executive Order 13746 for the Facilitation of a Presidential Transition Coordinating Council from October 9, 2008)

--The Obama Transition Project Ethics Code, courtesy of The Huffington Post on October 8, 2008

--Transition Tracker - A project of American University School of Communication

--The Nation's Transition HQ

--The New Team - coverage of the 44th President and his new team by The New York Times

--Olopade, Dayo. "The Paper Chase" The American Prospect November 19, 2008 - Dozens of progressive institutions are clamoring to put their agendas on Obama's desk. Will the incoming president actually read them?

--Powering Up Newsweek blogs the transition

--44: Transition to Power - blog by The Washington Post

Transition Recommendations, 2008

Government Reform

--The Agenda for Strengthening Our Nation's Democracy - A conference report and policy recommendations by Everyday Democracy, AmericaSpeaks, and Demos

--"...and communications for all": A Policy Agenda for a New Administration - academic recommendations by The Future of American Communications Working Group (FACT), led by the Institute for Information Policy at Penn State University and funded by the Media Democracy Fund. The book of compiled recommendations will be published by the New America Foundation on January 26, 2009

--The Brookings Institution's Opportunity '08

--The Center for Democracy and Technology's transition recommendations

--The Center for American Progress Action Fund proposals: Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President

--A Memorandum for Heads of Departments and Agencies by the United States Office of Personnel Management

--OMBWatch 21st Century Right to Know Project. Website, draft report, final report.

--The Personal Democracy Forum created a book on visions for a technologically reinvented government, called "Rebooting America"

--Presidential Management Initiative Papers published by the Partnership for Public Service

--Presiding with Principle: Restoring Good Governance in the U.S. Executive Branch - World Resources Institute

--Progressive Policy Institute: Memos to the Next President

--Project On Government Oversight's (POGO) Recommended Good Government Reforms for Presidential Transition Teams

--Proposal from the Open House Project blog on aggregating oversight reporting.

--The Status and Future of E-Rulemaking, as prepared by Cornell, the American Bar Association, and a large cross section of government employees.

--Sunlight Foundation's omnibus transparency reform legislation the Transparency in Government Act ([1]), and Sunlight Foundation staff wishlists.

--Third Way: Change You Can Believe In Needs a Government You Can Trust

Other New Administration Recommendations

--" A Fresh Start for a New Administration: Reforming Law and Justice Policies" - A compilation of documents and recommendations by the American Constitution Society

--Amnesty International's recommendations: Counter Terror with Justice: A Checklist for the Next US President November 5, 2008

--Association of Government Accountants' (AGA) Annual CFO Survey - Financial Management: Providing a Foundation for Transition

--Benton Foundation's report for the next administration, entitled "An Action Plan for America: Using Technology and Innovation to Address Our Nation's Critical Challenges"

--By the Stroke of a Pen: Seven Executive Orders to Launch the Obama Agenda - The Center for Progressive Reform

--The Constitution Project's, a robust set of transition recommendations from two policy areas, Criminal Justice and Liberty and Security

--The Heritage Foundation's "The Keys to a Successful Presidency"

--The Next Government, part of the Fels Institute of Government

--The Investment Deficit in America: Yesterday’s Achievements, Today’s Problems, Tomorrow’s Solutions sponsored by the Campaign for America's Future

--Memorandum to the Next President from the American Bar Association

--The National Security Archive's transition recommendations, pertaining to FOIA, the Paperwork Reduction Act, and Classification.

--Policy Archive has a collection of policy recommendations.

--Presidential Leadership to Ensure Science and Technology in the Service of National Needs: A Report to the 2008 Candidates, a report by the Center for the Study of the Presidency. The Center also has Agenda 2008: A Nation at Risk

--Project on National Security Reform (PNSR): Transforming Government for the 21st Century

--The Sunshine in Government Initiative has released recommendations for President-Elect Obama: a letter, press release, and white paper, calling for a presumption of disclosure, an online ombudsman, ending unnecessary exemptions, and for on-the-record communications.

--Transitions In Governance 2008

--The Urban Institute's Advice to President-Elect Obama

--The American Association of Law Libraries' Statement to The Obama-Biden Transition Team: Public Policy Positions of The American Association of Law Libraries

Past Transition Recommendations

--AEI's Transition to Governing Project.

--The Heritage Foundation's "Mandate for Leadership," from 1980, and The Keys to a Successful Presidency, from 2000.

--NPR Library - The National Partnership for Reinventing Government Reports, formerly the National Performance Review, which began as an initiative of the Clinton-Gore administration

--Prune Book, geared to political appointees and what they'll face, from the Council for Excellence in Government, and Brookings.

--White House 2001

--Wiggins, Richard. "The Unnoticed Presidential Transition: Whither" First Monday, Vol. 6.1 (January 2001)

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