Restore Public Trust (RPT)

Restore Public Trust (RPT)


Describing itself as “a non-partisan public interest group focused on exposing corruption and malfeasance at the highest levels of government,” Restore Public Trust (RPT) was launched on November 8, 2018 – two days after the midterm elections in which Democrats recaptured control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in eight years.

As a November 2018 profile of RPT in The Daily Beast put it, this nascent organization of “top Democratic operatives and open-government activists” was created for a singular purpose: “to make life miserable for Trump Cabinet officials” by “unearth[ing] and publiciz[ing] instances of corruption—or ethically dubious behavior—by members of the president’s team who [thus far] have largely avoided public scrutiny.” From its inception, RPT set out to deliver a constant bombardment of criticism against Trump and his allies, in hopes of increasing the possibility of the president’s impeachment — or at least driving down his public approval ratings so as prevent his reelection in 2020.

Toward those ends, RPT aims to serve as “a critical resource” for “elected officials investigating public corruption,” for “Americans looking for more information about what their government is or isn’t doing to advocate on their behalf,” and for “journalists examining the alleged malfeasance of [Trump-allied] government officials.”

RPT is a fiscal project of the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity that took in $358 million in 2016 and has funneled millions of dollars to left-wing advocacy groups like David Brock’s Media Matters for America and the Center for American Progress.

RPT’s personnel consists entirely of committed Democrat activists, attorneys, strategists, and political operatives, many of whom have close ties to the Party’s most powerful figures and to organizations that promote all manner of Democrat agendas. For instance, Executive Director Caroline Ciccone, who started her career in the press office of Senator Barbara Boxer, once served as the Executive Director of Americans United for Change and as a staffer at the consulting firm Precision Strategies. During Barack Obama‘s presidency, Ciccone worked in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison, where she tried to promote the President’s economic policies and agendas. “Corruption has infected the Trump administration,” Ciccone said in a November 2018 interview with The Daily Beast. “And there are a lot of folks, high-level government officials and appointees, who have the benefit of not being in the spotlight. We will be making sure that if there is a there-there, it is exposed.”

RPT’s Board of Advisors consists of the following five individuals:

  • Shripal Shah is currently the Vice President of the David Brock-founded Super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century. In 2014 Shah served as both Communications Director and Deputy Campaign Manager for Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen. He is also an alumnus of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic National Committee.
  • Melissa (Bruns) Bonine formerly served as the Operations Manager for Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, and as Director of Scheduling at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama Administration.
  • Melanie Sloan is a former federal prosecutor and Capitol Hill staffer who worked for Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Joe Biden, and Rep. John Conyers. Sloan also founded Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), and is a Senior Advisor to the watchdog group American Oversight.
  • Brad Woodhouse served as Communications Director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2003-04; as an advisor/spokesperson for U.S. Senator Jon Corzine in the early 2000s; as Communications Director for the Democratic National Committee in 2008; as a senior strategist for President Obama’s two campaigns for U.S. President (2008 and 2012); and as President of Americans United for Change, American Bridge 21st Century, and Correct the Record.
  • Attorney Kyle Herrig is a Director at the aforementioned New Venture Fund, where he oversees research and strategic communications for a number of ongoing projects. He also co-founded and currently advises several accountability organizations, including Allied Progress, Equity Forward, and Fix the Court. Moreover, he is an advisor to the Western Values Project, a Montana-based conservation group.

Additional Resources:

Further Reading:About [RTP]” (; “New Progressive Oversight Group Wants to Make Trump’s Cabinet Miserable” (The Daily Beast, 11-8-2018); “Restore Public Trust” (; “The Left’s Judicial Watch Knockoffs Targeting Trump” (Capital Research Center, 12-28-2018).

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