More Than 100 Business Leaders Co-Sign Letter Urging GSA Chief Emily Murphy to Authorize Presidential Transition

More than 100 business leaders, including George H. Walker, the chief executive of the money manager Neuberger, and Jon Gray, president of the private-equity firm Blackstone, have co-signed a letter urging General Services Administration (GSA) chief Emily Murphy to authorize the presidential transition. They expressed their concern that President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede and acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory poses a great risk to the country.

Murphy has made headlines in recent weeks for refusing to sign a letter of “ascertainment” confirming that President-elect Joe Biden won the election, a step that would allow Biden to meet with government officials and access the more than $6 million in federal funds allocated for the transition.

“Every day that an orderly presidential transition process is delayed, our democracy grows weaker in the eyes of our own citizens and the nation’s stature on the global stage is diminished,” reads the letter, which was reviewed by The New York Times. “Withholding resources and vital information from an incoming administration puts the public and economic health and security of America at risk.”

“We urge respect for the democratic process and unified support for our duly elected leadership,” they continue. “There is not a moment to waste in the battle against the pandemic and for the recovery and healing of our nation to begin.”

The Times reports that New York State Attorney General Letitia James organized the group following a call with business leaders.

“This isn’t about partisan politics, but about protecting our democracy,” James said in a statement yesterday. “Without the rule of law and an orderly transfer of power, everything from commerce to health care delivery to national security is in peril, and our business leaders can see that as clearly as the rest of us.”

Today’s news is just the latest indication that pressure on Murphy to authorize the transition has continued to mount. Last week, House Democrats wrote a letter demanding that Murphy do her duty, saying her actions “are having grave effects” on the nation.

“Your actions in blocking transition activities required under the law are having grave effects, including undermining the orderly transfer of power, impairing the incoming Administration’s ability to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, hampering its ability to address our nation’s dire economic crisis, and endangering our national security,” reads a letter signed by Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey, as well as Gerry Connolly and Mike Quigley, who are subcommittee chairs.

“Unlike the dispute after the 2000 election in Bush v. Gore, there is no legitimate path forward for President Trump — regardless of how many baseless lawsuits he files or his irrelevant refusal to concede,” they continue. “He has now lost dozens of cases in multiple states as many of his own attorneys abandon his efforts. There is no valid legal basis to withhold the ascertainment designation under the Presidential Transition Act.”