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January 13, 2021 | The American Prospect

Miranda Litwak Molly Coleman

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionBigLawDepartment of JusticeExecutive BranchRevolving Door

Biden Must Close the Revolving Door Between BigLaw and Government

Biden framed his campaign as “Scranton vs. Park Avenue,” promising an end to corporate government. But in order to do that, Biden must seal the revolving door between corporate law firms and the federal government. There is no shortage of brilliant attorneys who have dedicated their careers to serving the public interest and fighting for social justice who are ready to do that work within the new administration.

January 12, 2021

Elias Alsbergas

Blog Post

Ethics in Government

Gary Cohn, IBM, And A Tale As Old As Time

Amidst renewed furor to impeach Trump and expel Members of Congress for supporting the right wing Capitol Insurrection, more typical elite corruption goes without comment. IBM announced in January that Gary Cohn, Trump’s former head of the National Economic Council, would be appointed vice-chairman. Despite announcements that some corporations and lobbyists mulled temporarily suspending donations to Republicans inciting riots and IBM’s claim to support black lives, their announcement reveals the lie: Corporate America has no problem bringing high-level Trump appointees back into their elite fold.

January 12, 2021

Mariama Eversley

Blog Post

Government Capacity

Schedule F Still Poses a Grave Threat to the Civil Service

From the moment President Trump took office, he has been on a warpath with the civil service. He and his associates have waged an open war (and likely one behind closed doors as well) to seize control over federal employees just out of reach of easy firing. In October, as his presidency appeared rapidly to be approaching its end, he lobbed a bomb at the civil service system.

January 12, 2021

Zena Wolf

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionForeign PolicyGovernment Capacity

With Bill Burns At CIA, A Hopeful Move Toward Civil Service Revitalization

At the Revolving Door Project, we have frequently emphasized the importance of strengthening the civil service to ensure government works for public service and doesn’t cater to the interest of powerful people and corporations. We warned about how too much reliance on political appointments in the executive branch reduces accountability, citing academic research that political appointees perform worse than career managers. Especially in the Trump era, we have seen numerous examples of political appointees using the government for personal gain. Biden’s selection of William Burns, a career diplomat, as his CIA director should therefore be widely praised by progressives as a step towards restoring the civil service and depoliticizing the American intelligence community.

January 12, 2021

Dorothy Slater Max Moran

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateFinancial RegulationIndependent Agencies

Gary Gensler Would Lead An Un-Captured SEC To New Climate Regs

Gensler’s first order of business at the SEC will be to reverse Trump’s deregulatory agenda and rebuild the agency’s capacity to police American stock-trading. But this should only be a starting point: SEC activity was insufficient even under Obama, and issues linked to the financial system, from climate change to inequality, have worsened in the four intervening years.

January 08, 2021

Press Release

2020 Election/Transition

Memo on De-Trumpification

If there is one thing that Wednesday’s events made excruciatingly clear, it is that every additional day that Trump is in office is a dangerous one for our country. The risk is such that, even with only 12 days remaining in the President’s term, many are desperately seeking to remove him from office. Sadly, no matter whether Trump leaves the Oval Office tomorrow or on January 20, we know that many of his associates will remain behind (although just how many is a mystery).

January 06, 2021

Press Release

2020 Election/Transition

Why Progressives Should Care About the Commerce Secretary & Reject Raimondo

As President-elect Joe Biden fills out his Cabinet, progressives have pushed hard on most major positions, save one: Commerce Secretary. Recent reporting on the role frames the Commerce Secretary as a glorified middle-man between C-Suites and the White House.

In fact, the work of the Commerce Department impacts all Americans. Yet for decades, Commerce Secretaries have been chosen not for their policy agenda or experience, but as a reward for their massive campaign contributions and personal loyalty to the President. This practice of selling the Commerce Secretary position to the highest bidder has made it difficult to understand just how valuable a populist Commerce Secretary could be.

January 05, 2021

Vishal Shankar Zena Wolf

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCabinetExecutive BranchFinancial RegulationRevolving DoorRight-Wing MediaTech

Biden Should Beware The Right-Wing's Revolving Door Attacks

Fresh off defending Donald Trump’s historic corruption, conservatives have begun attacking President-elect Biden for his nominees’ ties to Big Tech, Wall Street, and corporate lobbying. While these attacks are transparently hypocritical, they are not without factual substance and could prove to be a major political liability for Democrats unless they commit to adopting much-needed ethics reforms.