As the Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, I have the ability under thePresidential Transition Act of 1963, as amended, to make certain post-election resources andservices available to assist in the event of a presidential transition. See 3 U.S.C. § 102 note(the "Act"). I take this role seriously and, because of recent developments involving legalchallenges and certifications of election results, am transmitting this letter today to make thoseresources and services available to you.
I have dedicated much of my adult life to public service, and I have always strived to do what isright. Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and availablefacts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official—includingthose who work at the White House or GSA—with regard to the substance or timing of mydecision. To be clear, I did not receive any direction to delay my determination. I did, however,receive threats online, by phone, and by mail directed at my safety, my family, my staff, andeven my pets in an effort to coerce me into making this determination prematurely. Even in theface of thousands of threats, I always remained committed to upholding the law.
Contrary to media reports and insinuations, my decision was not made out of fear or favoritism.Instead, I strongly believe that the statute requires that the GSA Administrator ascertain, notimpose, the apparent president-elect. Unfortunately, the statute provides no procedures orstandards for this process, so I looked to precedent from prior elections involving legalchallenges and incomplete counts. GSA does not dictate the outcome of legal disputes andrecounts, nor does it determine whether such proceedings are reasonable or justified. Theseare issues that the Constitution, federal laws, and state laws leave to the election certificationprocess and decisions by courts of competent jurisdiction. I do not think that an agencycharged with improving federal procurement and property management should place itselfabove the constitutionally-based election process. I strongly urge Congress to consideramendments to the Act.
As you know, the GSA Administrator does not pick or certify the winner of a presidentialelection. Instead, the GSA Administrator’s role under the Act is extremely narrow: to makeresources and services available in connection with a presidential transition. As stated,because of recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results,I have determined that you may access the post-election resources and services described inSection 3 of the Act upon request. The actual winner of the presidential election will bedetermined by the electoral process detailed in the Constitution.
Section 7 of the Act and Public Law 116-159, dated October 1, 2020, which provides continuingappropriations until December 11, 2020, makes $6,300,000 available to you to carry out theprovisions of Section 3 of the Act. In addition, $1,000,000 is authorized, pursuant to Public Law116-159, to provide appointee orientation sessions and a transition directory. I remind you thatSection 6 of the Act imposes reporting requirements on you as a condition for receiving servicesand funds from GSA.
If there is anything we can do to assist you, please contact Ms. Mary D. Gibert, the FederalTransition Coordinator.
Emily W. Murphy
U.S. General Services Administration