What law is preventing Biden from receiving security briefings?

The GSA is refusing to release funds that would normally fall to the President Elect’s transition team, but Trumps refusal to concede is holding this up. If we assume that Trump never concedes, when is Biden authorized to receive the information/funds of a President Elect?

The security briefings, it’s not because of any law. He’s not getting the briefings because the people who are giving them aren’t giving them to him. That’s entirely under executive control.

The funds, it’s because they claim that he’s not yet President-elect. And in fact, he’s not: Nobody’s voted for him yet. If previous candidates have had such funds released before the Electoral College votes, it’s been a courtesy, not something required by law.

Pardon my complete ignorance, but didn’t we have an election, oh, like, last week or so? One where all the votes for the Electoral College have already been tallied up?

Or is that formality not underway yet?

As you guess, that formality is not underway yet. It happens on the Monday after the second Wednesday in December. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Electoral_College#Meetings

No. There was an election to select the electors for the Electoral College. Those electors will meet on December 14 and cast their votes for a president-elect and vice-president-elect. Those votes will be transmitted to Congress who will hold a joint session on January 6 and declare “the persons, if any, elected President and Vice President of the United States.”

I would argue that there is no president-elect until January 6. But there is certainly no president-elect until December 14. There is a provision under federal law that allows the GSA to treat a candidate as “apparently successful” (in the discretion of the GSA Administrator) following the selection of electors but prior to the meeting of the electoral college or declaration of a winner, but that has nothing to do with “security briefings” and doesn’t change the fact that no one has (yet) been elected president. (That’s all factually accurate, of course, but in most years it’s mere pedantry).

Yeah, and I think there is another step before that where states formalize their vote counts (like Georgia just did the other day).

It’s just most of the time the sitting President isn’t a jackass who refuses to concede when it becomes evident that their job is over (usually on or shortly after Election Night).

I do not think there is a law that demands any of this.

It is just common sense when moving from one administration to the next that there should be a smooth transition to keep the country operating in an orderly fashion.

Moderator Note

This is a reminder that political jabs are not permitted in General Questions. No warning issued.

General Questions Moderator

There’s a law (or maybe an executive order) that lets Presidential candidates receive security briefings. And Biden has received some due to that. But someone noted that once the election is over, Biden isn’t a candidate anymore. So they stopped giving him the briefings. I don’t know who came up with this, certainly not Trump. One of his minions, I assume.

Yep, just like it would be common sense for a retiring CEO to invite the new CEO to his office to start talking about a smooth transition between CEOs. Now suppose, for whatever reason, the retiring CEO wanted to be a stick in the mud and refused to discuss any aspect of the transition and said “You just figure it out when you get here.” At some point, after perhaps receiving a phone call from the incoming CEO, some of the Board members would phone the retiring executive and say “Look, we need to get this going.” And I would assume even potentially terminate him if he refused – because after all, it is in the interests of the Board members to have a smooth transition.

And that is the difference between that example and the one we’re observing with the change of regime in the WH: it is not necessarily in the direct interests of Republicans to have a smooth transfer of power. In fact, some might even consider what Trump is doing to be in the naked political interests of the party. If you’re wondering why nobody in either party has thought of this before, I would submit that they probably have, but in the past, there was a time when there might have been a direct consequence in terms of public image. Now? I don’t know if the average voter can really figure out who is to blame for the dysfunction of the political system. The parties and the electoral are so polarized that each goes into its own camp. The penalty that used to come from failure to cooperate with the other side now seems to apply when there is an attempt to leave the camp and cooperate with the other.

That is why I actually think the odds of our status as a liberal democracy (a democracy as we’ve known it) is likely to change in the next decade. I’d say that the odds are better than 50% that we eventually become an illiberal democracy within the next two election cycles.

One would hope that, despite differences, both sides have the best interests of the country in mind.

I’d like to say more but this is GQ so I will leave it at that.

I suppose it depends on the circumstances. If the transition is part of a planned succession, then yes. Typically the retiring CEO will start transferring knowledge and responsibilities early and may even stay on for a bit as an advisor or consultant.

If the new CEO is there as part of an acquisition or hostile takeover, then the old CEO might be less cooperative. Assuming they are even allowed to stick around to be cooperative.

Well, removing the “jackass” part, the point still remains that usually the President concedes when the winner of the election becomes apparent and moves forward with transitioning in the new President.

The “jackass” part was why it was moderated. So refrain from such language in this forum.

@Asahi: Agree overall with your post; premises, details, & conclusion. But there’s something really key right here that deserves a bit more emphasis:

Underlining mine.

In other words, in the corporate system the CEO works for the Board and serves at the Board’s pleasure. Conversely, in an imperial presidency system, the President in effect answers to no-one other than the voters, and that only once every 4 years.

Once all laws are considered mere suggestions, to be ignored or reinterpreted by the Executive branch that’s solely responsible for carrying them out or enforcing them upon others, then you have a dictatorship subject to renewal every 4 years. Until such time as the Dictator find the renewal process unnecessary and stops doing that too.

Funny, I seem to remember a certain Democrat that refused to concede. Was he also a “jackass”?

Moderator Note

That remark was already moderated. There is no reason for you to address it again.

General Questions Moderator

There’s a big difference between the election coming down to the results of a single state and barely 500 votes (near the margin of error), and an election where three out of four battleground states would need to be reversed despite victories of tens to hundreds of thousands of votes.

To use a sports analogy, it’s like a round of golf. Technically the score isn’t official until the player signs their scorecard and turns it in. But once the player finishes their last hole, the rest of it (should be) a formality.

Moderator Note

Once again, once a post has been moderated there is no need to address this further. Drop this subject.

General Questions Moderator

Without touching on the portion that received moderation, I would note that George W. Bush did receive the Presidential Daily Brief prior to SCOTUS making the ruling that resulted in him becoming president-elect.

So as an answer to the General Question, concession is not necessarily tied to when Biden would receive the briefing. It depends purely on executive decision.

Perhaps that’s not clear, but I wanted to point out that Trump refusing to conceded does not require that Biden not receive the briefings. That is a separate decision that the Trump administration is also making, in addition to the decision to not concede and recognize Biden as president-elect.