An Open Letter to All Members of Congress and to All Presidential Candidates
Subject: Transparency Requirements for Candidates for President and Vice-President – More Is Needed in Our Modern Electoral Process – Filing of The (OGE) Office of Government Ethics Financial Disclosure Form 278e is Mandatory – The (OPM) National Security Questionnaire Form SF-86 Should Also Be Mandatory | by CDR Charles Kerchner (Ret)
(May 7th, 2023) – The 2024 presidential election cycle is now underway with a few candidates having already declared their candidacy. Presidential Candidates now are required to file the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Financial Disclosure Form 278e with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) within 30 days of declaring their candidacy.
In order to provide more information to the public and voters and increase transparency regarding Presidential Candidates and Vice-Presidential Candidates, it should be required for all Presidential Candidates and Vice-Presidential Candidates to file for public information use purposes the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) National Security Questionnaire Form SF-86 with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) within 30 days of declaring their candidacy.
From my experience and from the experience of others who have contacted me with questions about various candidates, several of the candidates are not being responsive to this author and others when sent questions regarding their full life narrative, background, and family history. Their tactic seems to be to just ignore such questions from a voter and not answer other than to put the questioner’s email address immediately onto the solicitations for donations email list. They will keep ignoring certain questions unless it is asked of them by a persistent major media reporter. And for certain candidates, certain questions never seem to be asked of them by anyone in the major mainstream media.
What questions are several candidates evading answering to concerned voters contacting them and their campaigns you may ask? Well, just peruse the national security concern questions in Form SF-86 and you will see them. Particularly Sections 10.1, 18 Entry #1, and 19 to name a few. Full transparency and disclosure is owed to the voters asking the same questions, not evasion of answering or ignoring the voter by the candidate. And the major mainstream media needs to ask each presidential candidate those national security questions in the National Security Questionnaire Form SF-86.
Given how some candidates are not being totally transparent with voters such as I have personally experienced, and as have others too when asked certain questions about their full life narrative, background, and family history via answering direct questions sent to them or their campaign staff from voters, or in response to repeated questions making more information readily available on their campaign website or in public sources, and given that they are seeking the highest most powerful office in our government and in which they will have access to the most sensitive and important information regarding our nation’s National Security, a new law or regulation should impose that all candidates for the Presidency and Commander in Chief of our military forces should be required to file the National Security Questionnaire Form SF-86 with the (FEC) within 30 days of declaring their candidacy.
This information will help the voters better vet all concerns about the various candidates and allow the voters to better choose who they think is the best choice to be elected and then sworn into the highest, most powerful political office in our country and to be Commander in Chief of our military forces. The same rule should apply to those who declare their candidacy for the Vice-Presidency if any openly declare for that office or when a presidential candidate selects their VP running mate.
And the filing of the SF-86 forms by all candidates should be made available to the general public under the same rules and regulations that govern the release of the financial disclosure forms such as redacting the candidate’s SSN, etc. Full transparency of the candidate’s full life narrative, background, and family history to the depth of what is required of any other person seeking a position involving national security is what is desired by the American electorate for both financial and national security issues for those who are seeking the highest, most powerful and important national security office in our government.
What are evasive presidential candidates trying to hide? What don’t they want the voters to know about the true answers to questions asked directly by a voter, such that they ignore them and don’t answer it or even for the most part don’t even reply, regarding foreign influence and national security issues because they think the true answer may impact their electability if widely known?
If the candidates and/or their campaign staff won’t promptly and voluntarily answer questions posed to them directly from a voter or voters about national security type questions, issues, and concerns – then maybe it’s time they are all forced to when they become a candidate for the Presidency to answer such questions via the comprehensive national security Form SF-86 questionnaire just as they are now forced to do so regarding financial and investment connection questions via the comprehensive financial disclosure Form 278e questionnaire.
Please forward this suggestion as an Open Letter to any elected members of Congress who may be willing to introduce legislation to make this happen.
CDR Charles Kerchner, P.E. (Retired)
Lehigh Valley PA USA
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