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Major Foundation Leaders Call for Protecting the Independence of Special Counsel Investigation

By Democracy Fund / 2018 November 19th

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an unprecedented action, forty-two leading philanthropic institutions joined together to call for the preservation of the independence of the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The joint statement comes on the heels of the forced resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the subsequent appointment of an Acting Attorney General who has publicly criticized the investigation he will reportedly now oversee.

The statement has been signed by a cadre of funders [list] who are deeply committed to protecting the rule of law to preserve democratic values, protect rights of individuals, and prevent abuse of power.

The full statement is below and HERE.

“As leaders of nonpartisan American philanthropic institutions, we care deeply about the long-term health of our republic, our two-party system, and our democratic institutions. Together, we want to express our deep concern about the resignation of the Attorney General, which came at the request of the president, and the appointment of an Acting Attorney General who has openly criticized the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election — an investigation he reportedly will now supervise. Led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, this independent investigation is integral to understanding not just what happened in 2016, but also who was responsible and how to prevent further interference in our political system in the future.

We believe it is essential that the independence of the special counsel investigation be preserved. We ask that other civic, business, and government leaders join us in standing up for the rule of law — a cornerstone of American democracy. John Adams is often quoted as describing a republic as “a government of laws, not of men.” Adherence to the rule of law preserves our democratic values and the rights of individuals; it maintains order, and it protects against arbitrary government action. It also ensures the independence and integrity of our governmental institutions, including our law enforcement agencies. Those in power cannot and should not use or manipulate law enforcement for their own personal protection or for political gain. Rather, these agencies must apply the law impartially in the pursuit of justice. In the United States of America, the rule of law is paramount.

Any action taken by a president that could interfere with the supervision of a legitimate law enforcement investigation into the activities of his campaign, his business interests, or those who serve in his administration, threatens these bedrock norms. This is especially true when such an investigation includes the specter of foreign interference in American elections. No one is above the law, including the president, his family, and others who serve in his administration. The special counsel’s investigation must be allowed to continue unimpeded.

We stand together in our commitment to the protection of our democracy and its freedoms, for which generations of Americans have fought and given their lives.”

Signatories include:

Greg Segal, Board Member
AL Mailman Family Foundation
White Plains, NY

Eileen Coogan, President and Chief Executive Officer
Allegany Franciscan Ministries
Palm Harbor, FL

David Goodman, President
Andrew Goodman Foundation
New York, NY

Adam Simon, Executive Director
Aviv Foundation
Bethesda, MD

Gary D. Bass, Executive Director
Bauman Foundation
Washington, DC

Sara Kay, Chief Executive Officer
The Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust
New York, NY

Martha A. Toll, Executive Director
Butler Family Fund
Washington, DC

Kathleen D. Edwards, Ph.D., President
Cedarmere Foundation
Seattle, WA

Elaine Nonneman, Trustee
Channel Foundation
Seattle, WA

Stacy Schusterman, Chair
Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
Tulsa, OK

Andrea Panaritis, Executive Director
The Christopher Reynolds Foundation
Boston, MA

Ellen Friedman, Executive Director
Compton Foundation
San Francisco, CA

Joe Goldman, President
Democracy Fund
Washington, DC

Melissa Beck, Executive Director
The Educational Foundation of America
Fairfield, CT

Darren Walker, President
Ford Foundation
New York, NY

Geoffrey Gund, President
The George Gund Foundation
Cleveland, OH

Deanna Gomby, President & Chief Executive Officer
Heising-Simons Foundation
Los Altos, CA

Bill Hopwood, Co-Trustee
J.M.Hopwood Charitable Trust
Elkins, NH

Kim Philbrick McCabe, Executive Director
The Klarman Family Foundation
Boston, MA

Dr. Keith Leaphart, Chairman
The Lenfest Foundation
Philadelphia, PA

Marcella Kanfer Rolnick, Chair & Aaron Dorfman, President
Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah
Akron, OH

Wendy Lewis, Executive Director
McCune Charitable Foundation
Santa Fe, NM

Jenny Russell, Executive Director
Merck Family Fund
Milton Village, MA

Jay Beckner, President
Mertz Gilmore Foundation
New York, NY

Aaron Dorfman, President & Chief Executive Officer
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
Washington, DC

Sharon Alpert, President
Nathan Cummings Foundation
New York, NY

Michele Lord, President
NEO Philanthropy
New York, NY

Maria Mottola, Executive Director
New York Foundation
New York, NY

Pamela Shifman, Executive Director
NoVo Foundation
Brooklyn, NY

Patrick Gaspard, President
Open Society Foundations
New York, NY

Rachel Pritzker, President & Founder
Pritzker Innovation Fund
San Francisco, CA

Kathryn Murdoch, Co-Founder & President
Quadrivium Foundation
New York, NY

Stephen B Heintz, President
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
New York, NY

Ruth Salzman, Chief Executive Officer
The Russell Berrie Foundation
Teaneck, NJ

Mike Pratt, President
Scherman Foundation
New York, NY

Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director
Wallace Global Fund
Washington, DC

JoAnn Intili & Ed Kissam, Senior Advisers
Werner Kohnstamm Family Fund
Oakland, CA

John Esterle, Co-Executive Director
The Whitman Institute
San Francisco, CA

Alan S. Davis, Director
The WhyNot Initiative
San Francisco, CA

Diane Cornman-Levy, Executive Director
Women’s Way
Philadelphia, PA

Daniel Solomon, President
Woodbury Fund
Bethesda, MD

Merryl Snow Zegar, Trustee & Executive Director
Zegar Family Foundation
New York, NY

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