GSA Boss Wants Law Changed

Saying she tries 'to do what is right,' Emily Murphy puts her dilemma in personal terms
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2020 7:15 PM CST
GSA Boss Wants Law Changed
The General Services Administration building in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

After it somehow fell to a nationally pressured appointee of President Trump to effectively declare the winner of the presidential election, Emily Murphy explained her delayed decision in personal terms. "I have always strived to do what is right," the GSA boss told President-elect Joe Biden on Monday in a letter, which CNN posted here. "My decision was not made out of fear or favoritism," she said. But Murphy did list ways she was pressured, the Washington Post reports, by "threats online, by phone, and by mail directed at my safety, my family, my staff, and even my pets in an effort to coerce me into making this determination prematurely." In a tweet supporting the decision, Trump said Murphy has been "harassed, threatened, and abused—and I do not want to see this happen to her, her family, or employees of GSA." Murphy told Biden that "even in the face of thousands of threats, I always remained committed to upholding the law."

Murphy's decision releases federal resources to assist with the transition to a Biden administration and lets officials work with the president-elect's team; a Biden aide said those meetings will begin soon, per CNN. In presenting her defense for waiting nearly three weeks after the Nov. 3 election to OK the transition, Murphy said she didn't want to get ahead of the legal steps involved in the process, per the New York Times. The statutes don't give any guidance, Murphy said, so she looked for precedents from past elections. And she sounded puzzled herself about the GSA's decision-making role, calling on Congress to change the Presidential Transition Act. "I do not think that an agency charged with improving federal procurement and property management should place itself above the constitutionally-based election process," she wrote. (Biden said the delay could cost more COVID-19 deaths.)

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