Restore Public Trust (RPT) is an advocacy organization launched in November 2018 to assist the efforts of organizations within what has been called a “constellation of progressive-oriented accountability groups that have launched in response to Donald Trump’s presidency.”
While classifying itself as a “non-partisan public interest group,” its investigations have been solely directed at Republicans and the Trump administration. On the day it was launched it filed 12 freedom of information requests with Trump administration Cabinet agencies.
RPT’s board of advisers consists of Democratic Party strategists, operatives, political consultants, and former Obama administration officials. Most are or have been affiliated with other so-called “accountability” organizations that have been launched by the left since President Donald Trump took office – in two instances specifically the organizations mentioned in a January 2017 proposal made by Hillary Clinton operative David Brock to major left-wing donors, which advocated a mission of damaging the incoming Trump administration with a barrage of open records requests and bad publicity. 
RPT and at least two other groups—Democracy Forward (DF) and American Oversight (AO)—did not exist at the time of the Brock proposal, but have since emerged to fulfill the mission it promoted. These organizations have staffs and board members that have been affiliated with each other’s organizations and the organizations specifically noted in the Brock document.  
Restore Public Trust is a project of the New Venture Fund (NVF), a major 501(c)(3) funding and fiscal sponsorship nonprofit catering to left-wing advocacy organizations and labor unions. Executive director Caroline Ciccone is a former executive director of the left-wing advocacy group Americans United for Change, and a former staffer from the Obama administration.
RPT after the 2018 midterm elections in which Democrats won control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Citing its own polling as showing “people believe the Trump administration has a corruption problem,” an RPT news release declared it ready to assume the job of “exposing corruption and holding officials accountable.” RPT announced it had already filed 12 freedom of information requests with Trump administration cabinet agencies.
RPT portrays itself as a resource for “journalists examining the alleged malfeasance of government officials.” Unlike the frequent references regarding the Trump administration, RPT’s public pronouncements do not reference holding Democratic officials accountable as part of the mission, even though RPT defines itself as a “non-partisan public interest group.”
RPT is a project of the New Venture Fund (NVF), a major 501(c)(3) donor to left-wing advocacy organizations and labor unions, such as Americans for Responsible Solutions, the Feminist Majority Foundation, and the National Education Association. Kyle Herrig, a director for NVF, is also on the advisory board of RPT.
Relations with Other Left-wing “Accountability” Organizations
In a Daily Beast media interview, RPT executive director Caroline Ciccone stated her organization’s objective was to provide “complimentary strategies” in cooperation with other organizations sharing similar missions. RPT was noted in the media report as one of a “constellation of progressive-oriented accountability groups that have launched in response to Donald Trump’s presidency.”
American Oversight (AO) was also listed in the report. It was launched in March 2017 and opened investigations into the Trump administration based largely on its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and lawsuits. For 2018 alone, AO claimed to have filed more than 1000 FOIA requests and 56 open records lawsuits directed at the administration. Democracy Forward (DF) also fills a role very similar to that of AO; both are tied to major left-wing Democratic donors and employ staffers with partisan left-wing work histories.
In December 2018, RPT and Democracy Forward sent a joint request to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), alleging the possibility that EPA officials had illegally collaborated the Fox News Channel on the content of an April 2017 broadcast, and asking for an investigation from the OIG.
Cooperation with Congressional Democrats
On December 7, 2018, RPT announced it was asking the House Financial Services Committee to investigate U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao’s behavior while she was on the board of Wells Fargo. Shortly before this, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) had announced one of her first jobs after becoming chair of the committee in January 2019 would be investigating Wells Fargo’s business practices. RPT also released a report purporting to show “numerous instances where Wells Fargo took advantage of its customers through fraudulent schemes during Secretary Chao’s time on the Board.”
The only employee publicly listed on RPT’s website and quoted in media (as of December 2018) is executive director Caroline Ciccone. Ciccone is the former executive director of the left-wing advocacy group Americans United for Change and a former staffer in the Obama administration.
The five members of RPT’s advisory board have extensive connections to Democratic officials and causes, left-wing advocacy groups, and in particular other left-wing “accountability” organizations that dovetail with the mission laid out in the January 2017 Brock proposal. Three board members have past work histories with American Bridge 21st Century and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) – the two main organizations specifically promoted in the Brock proposal. 
Kyle Herrig is also on the board of American Oversight.
Melanie Sloan is also a senior staffer for American Oversight and the founder of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
Shripal Shah is vice-president of American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic Party super PAC. He is also a former staffer for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Brad Woodhouse is executive director of Protect Our Care, an Obamacare advocacy organization and project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a 501(c)(4) advocacy group and sister to New Venture Fund.. He is also a former president of both American Bridge 21st Century and Americans United for Change, and a former communications staffer for the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Melissa (Bruns) Bonine’s RPT bio refers to her as an operations expert for progressive groups. She has a work history that includes the offices of congressional Democrats and in the Obama administration.