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Press Release | March 11, 2021

Letter Calls On Garland To Commit To Greater Transparency At DOJ

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Letter Calls On Garland To Commit To Greater Transparency At DOJ

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jeff Hauser, hauser@therevolvingdoorproject.org, (202) 957-9719

On Wednesday, Merrick Garland was confirmed as the nation’s 86th Attorney General. With the Senate delays and procedural hurdles behind him, Garland now faces a new, more difficult challenge: restoring trust in the beleaguered department he has been asked to lead. In a new letter to Garland, the Revolving Door Project makes the case that this will require more than simply returning to the status quo that existed prior to Trump. In order to “build back better,” the Revolving Door Project calls on the soon-to-be Attorney General to demonstrate his commitment to the task by adopting new transparency and conflict of interest standards.  

Long before Trump and his cronies took a sledgehammer to the Justice Department, blatant conflicts of interest and endless trips through the revolving door were already eroding its foundation and threatening its structural integrity. Yet, despite an appeal from 37 progressive and good government groups, including ours, Garland has signaled that he will not target that longer-running source of distrust at the root by shutting out BigLaw attorneys from the Justice Department. 

He cannot, however, pretend that these conflicts are not a legitimate source of concern and a political liability. That is especially true as, elsewhere, the Biden administration chooses to disfavor BigLaw attorneys for nominations to district courts. If Garland is unwilling to emulate this admirable example, he must, at minimum, commit to increasing transparency surrounding BigLaw hires. 

With that in mind, the Revolving Door Project is calling on the new Attorney General to provide more and more easily accessible information about new departmental hires, expand disclosure requirements for attorneys coming from BigLaw, and “publish a thorough explanation of the Department’s plans to manage conflicts of interest…in line with the spirit of ethics law and the goals of restoring public trust in the Justice Department.” 

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PHOTO: “US Senator Chuck Schumer Meets With US Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland At United States Capitol” by Senate Democrats is licensed under CC GA 2.0.

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