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July 22, 2021

Timi Iwayemi Fatou Ndiaye

Report

Anti-MonopolyIndependent AgenciesIntellectual PropertyPharmaTrade Policy

The Industry Agenda: Big Pharma

In 2019, Gallup found that the pharmaceutical industry was “the most poorly regarded industry in Americans’ eyes,” and rightfully so. Pharmaceutical companies often set drug prices exorbitantly high, including life-saving drugs which patients literally cannot go without, such as insulin. This includes older drugs that are cheaper to produce — such as epinephrine (emergency medication used to treat severe allergic reactions and asthma attacks). These firms achieve this by stifling competition at the consumer’s expense, jealously protecting their money-makers from the generics which the pharmaceutical system is supposed to develop after a patent expires.

July 20, 2021

Dorothy Slater

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateEthics in Government

FERC Nominee Must Be Independent From Utilities Driving Climate Crisis And Hurting Consumers

June 30th marked the last official day of Republican Neil Chatterjee’s term as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Despite FERC’s obscurity, it is a critically important independent agency of the federal government that regulates the interstate transmission of oil, gas, and electricity, and reviews proposals to build gas terminals and pipelines. As of July 1st, a new commissioner nominated by President Biden and confirmed by the Senate could have stepped in, giving the five-seat board a Democratic majority. Biden has thus far failed to begin that process, so Chatterjee will remain serving an expired term until Biden appoints and the Senate confirms someone new.

July 16, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Press Release

Intellectual PropertyRevolving Door

With Rumored USPTO Pick, Biden Prioritized Patronage Over Patent Reform

After months of delay, Biden is rumored to have selected a new Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) acceptable to Delaware Senator Chris Coons. If true, that will mean Biden has sacrificed a critical opportunity to catalyze bold patent reform in the service of political patronage. Reports have indicated that Biden offered Coons, who expressed hope that coronavirus might be a “sword” for stronger IP protections, the power to decide the next USPTO Director as a consolation prize for not having been named Secretary of State.

July 16, 2021

Zena Wolf

Blog Post

Intellectual PropertyPatent and Trademark Office

Revolver Spotlight: Chris Coons

Rumors that Delaware Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) has had a hand in nominating the new U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director are extremely worrisome given Coons’ coziness with the Big Pharma industry and willingness to vote against his own party to benefit large corporations. Coons has a long record of proposing and passing legislation (often with far-right Republicans) to benefit Big Pharma companies, at the expense of consumers and small businesses. While harmful to the general public, Coons’ legislation has directly benefited his family’s medical device manufacturer, enriching himself. His record and blatant disregard for consumer welfare should exclude him from any conversations about executive branch personnel.

July 14, 2021

Zena Wolf

Blog Post

ClimateDepartment of JusticeEthics in GovernmentIndependent Agencies

Recent Leaks And Ongoing Litigation At The EPA Highlight The Importance Of Government Transparency

The Biden Administration has a historic opportunity to reverse the executive branch’s long-standing war on whistleblowers, and end the all-too-common (and sadly bipartisan) practice of villainizing whistleblowers and leakers to avoid accountability for government wrongdoing revealed by these actors.

July 13, 2021

Daniel Takash

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionIntellectual Property

GUEST CONTRIBUTION: What Can a New USPTO Director Do?

As of this writing, the Biden Administration has yet to announce a pick for director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. As Fatou Ndiaye has pointed out, this is likely due to behind-the-scenes tension between patent hawks in the Democratic caucus, specifically Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), and the broader progressive, reformist forces in the administration that made it possible for the United States to back a waiver on obligations under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

July 08, 2021

Press Release

BigLawClimateFinancial RegulationRevolving DoorTreasury Department

Biden Must Withdraw ExxonMobil- And Wall Street-Linked Nominee, 23 Groups Say

“As a private corporate attorney, MacBride defended fossil fuel companies, Wall Street giants, Big Tech monopolies, and a myriad of other corporate industries,” the groups wrote. “His past work fighting vigorously and successfully on behalf of corporations against the public interest disqualifies him from a role in the administration.”

July 08, 2021

Vishal Shankar Andrea Beaty Molly Coleman

Press Release

BigLawRevolving Door

Biden Hires Top Officials From Big Tech-Aligned Law Firm, New Report Finds

Over the course of its decade-long partnership with Facebook, Latham has fought consumer data breach litigation, quashed federal investigations into corrupt practices by Facebook contractors, and advised on mergers and acquisitions that have cemented Facebook’s tech monopoly status (including its highly-controversial 2014 purchase of WhatsApp, a merger that is currently being challenged by the FTC).

July 08, 2021 | The American Prospect

Sion Bell

Op-Ed

IRS

One Weird Trick to Force Billionaires to Pay Taxes

Last month, ProPublica, aided by a trove of tax information on the richest Americans delivered by an anonymous whistleblower, began a series of reports on the staggeringly low to nonexistent tax bills paid by specific billionaires and the tactics they use to achieve that end.

In its most recent release, ProPublica detailed PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s use of a Roth IRA, a specialized retirement account in which contributors pay taxes up front but not on distributions, to shelter billions in investment income gains. This involved questionable valuations and other strategies that are either explicitly or implicitly illegal.

July 07, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Department of Justice

Biden Labeled the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Decision a “Disappointment.” His Justice Department Failed to Oppose It.

Last Thursday, the Supreme Court dealt a near fatal blow to what remained of the Voting Right Act. Lawmakers, advocates, and commentators decried the decision, arguing that it will make challenging the wave of new voting restrictions emerging across the country much more difficult. In a statement, President Biden said that he was “deeply disappointed,” and concurred with Justice Elena Kagan’s assessment that the decision upholds “a significant race-based disparity in voting opportunities.”