Trump Had Staffers Sign Unconstitutional NDAs

With an administration as messy as Donald Trump’s, it is no wonder the president requires his staffers to keep their mouths shut about what they see. According to a new report, Trump made White House staffers sign non-disclosure agreements to prevent them from sharing details from their work experience.

There’s one major problem with that: it’s blatantly disallowed. As Ben Wizner of the ACLU states, “Public employees can’t be gagged by private agreements. Those so-called NDAs are unconstitutional and unenforceable.”

Sign the Care2 petition: Tell John Kelly to stop having staffers sign these bogus NDAs.

Sure, Trump may be able to get away with that sort of thing in the private sector (or with porn stars he’s allegedly had an affair with,) but White House staffers are not Trump’s employees – they work for the federal government and should not have been asked to sign such a document in the first place.

Apparently, all senior staffers – some begrudgingly – were made to sign the NDA anyway. The agreement is especially egregious in that it calls on them to not talk about this job “at all times thereafter” meaning that Trump wants them to carry his secrets to the grave.

Washington Post editor Ruth Marcus summed up the situation thusly: “This is so ridiculously excessive, so laughably unconstitutional, that I doubted when it first came my way that anything like it was ever implemented, only to do some reporting and learn otherwise.”

To be clear, it’s not a matter of maintaining state secrets. Obviously, White House employees must remain tight-lipped on classified information, but it’s not the NDA that obligates them to do that.

Rather what Trump is trying to prevent is people talking about him after they leave the White House or he leaves office. During the campaign, Trump complained about previous presidents’ staffers writing revealing books and said he wanted there to be a law against that. Though ethicists warned him that that would be illegal, it appears Trump went ahead and did it anyway.

If any White House staffers want to put the NDA’s invalidity to the test in the near future, Mark Zaid, cofounder of the law firm Whistleblower Aid in D.C., has already offered to represent them pro bono.

Given the unprecedented amount of leaks pouring from the tumultuous White House, some staffers presumably are already unafraid of the NDA. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that they should be threatened with a lawsuit for millions of dollars for bringing to light some of the ways this administration operates. The American people deserve to have an understanding of how the political system is being run, and government employees shouldn’t be impeded from doing so.

Take Action

There’s no reason for Chief of Staff John Kelly to allow these bogus NDAs to keep being handed out when they know they’re unconstitutional. Sign the petition to stop issuing them and to make it clear to the president that government employees are not there for Trump just to intimidate and push around.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

55 comments

Marie W
Marie Wabout a month ago

Thanks.

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Lesa DiIorio
Lesa D5 months ago

#37298 petition signed...

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Lesa DiIorio
Lesa D5 months ago

thank you Kevin...

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R5 months ago

Thank you for posting your opinions...

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Margaret G
Margaret G6 months ago

Trump seems o think that the United states is a solely owned subsidiary of the Trump organization.

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Margaret G
Margaret G6 months ago

Nancy O seems to think that President Obama’s administration did something similarly bad. What was it Nancy?

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Barbara K
Barbara K6 months ago

The moron in the white house knows nothing and is not capable of learning how to run a country. He thinks he is running a Reality Show. The people he appoints know nothing about the jobs he appoints them to, but all he wants them to do anyway is destroy everything about this country. Send Trump to prison now and Make America Great Again.

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Pat P
Pat P6 months ago

This man must go! He is a sociopath who does not belong as leader of the U.S. He has violated so many laws, already. Why is he still there? Why would anyone work in this Administration, anyhow?

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Belinda Lang
Belinda Lang7 months ago

Trump acts like he is the president of a private company called the United States of America.

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Winn A
Winn Adams7 months ago

That's one scum bag that belongs in jail. He is a cancer on America and it's people.

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