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May 01, 2020

Miranda Litwak

Report

Anti-MonopolyIndependent Agencies

The SBA's Office of Advocacy: What is it and Why is it Relevant?

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy (“Advocacy”) is a little known corner of the executive branch that wields a surprising amount of power, particularly in the regulatory process. This research memo explores the powers Advocacy possesses, how the office gained this power, and the potential Advocacy may have in a progressive administration to be a strong anti-consolidation voice in the regulatory process.

April 29, 2020

Andrea Beaty

Blog Post

Anti-MonopolyRevolving Door

Amazon Won’t Play Fair In Commerce Or Congress

Last week, the Wall Street Journal revealed that contrary to stated company policies, Amazon looks at proprietary information generated for third-party sellers on the platform when developing its house-brand offerings. Cases described to the Journal include Amazon engineers peeking at the total sales, profit margins, and shipping costs for a popular third-party car trunk organizer which sells on Amazon Marketplace. Amazon later used that data to help design its own, rival product. Third-party sellers have long believed that Amazon wasn’t looking at this information because…Amazon said it wasn’t looking at this information. Instead, the tech giant’s control of both the Marketplace and its own house brands grants it an anti-competitive advantage over smaller sellers who depend on Amazon’s marketplace to survive. They can’t check all of their competitors’ stats on a whim to figure out how to drive them out of business.

April 28, 2020

Miranda Litwak

Blog Post

Congressional Oversight

The SBA Was Never Prepared to Handle This

Many Americans might not have heard of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) before COVID-19. In fact, the small executive agency has been involved in the federal government’s response to some of the largest economic crises and natural disasters over the past two decades. This time around, the SBA has been thrust front and center as it attempts to administer one of the largest loan programs in our nation’s history. But if our Congressional leaders had spent time understanding the SBA’s limitations, perhaps they would have paused before giving the agency free rein to hand out billions of taxpayer dollars.

April 28, 2020

Eleanor Eagan Jeff Hauser

Blog Post

Congressional Oversight

In Interview, Donna Shalala Does Nothing to Alleviate Progressives' Concerns

Nancy Pelosi shocked onlookers earlier this month when she named freshman Representative Donna Shalala (D-FL) to the CARES Act oversight panel. Shalala had not expressed interest in the position publicly, nor does she possess specialized expertise in financial policy, congressional oversight, or law enforcement. Pelosi’s choice discouraged those holding out hope that a spirited set of appointees could somewhat overcome the panel’s structural disadvantages.

April 21, 2020

Jeff Hauser

Press Release

Congressional Oversight

This Time Around, Congress Must Implement Meaningful Oversight of SBA Loan Programs

Congressional leaders have finally reached a deal to replenish the SBA COVID response loan programs temporarily after days of negotiations. Putting aside the tragically narrow parameters of this deal, House Democrats should only be acceding to further funding these ill-designed programs after they have secured effective oversight of the Trump Administration’s heretofore bumbling execution of the law.

April 15, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Financial RegulationIndependent Agencies

Freshman Legislators Advance a Courageous Plan to Address Economic Fragility

This crisis has shattered any illusions that our post-financial crisis framework is resilient enough to withstand the challenges of the future. Coronavirus has, in particular, uncovered one of our most fundamental, persistent weaknesses: our continued inability to anticipate and prepare for new financial risks. For this ill-preparedness, we have powerful actors like BlackRock, the asset management giant and political titan, to thank. In an effort to avoid more stringent regulation, BlackRock and others not only evaded scrutiny for their own contributions to systemic risk, but virtually destroyed the mechanisms designed to examine such risk across the wider economy.

April 11, 2020 | Washington Monthly

Max Moran

Op-Ed

Revolving DoorTech

How Big Tech Is Preparing for a Biden Presidency

If Joe Biden wins in November, you can bet that Big Tech’s representatives will do the same thing as every other industry’s political strategists: scour the list of more than four thousand appointments across the executive branch the new president needs to make, and figure out which of their loyalists are ready for a spin through the government’s revolving door.

April 09, 2020 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Congressional Oversight

Congress Must Have Skipped the First Three Seasons of Trump Reality Show

The coronavirus pandemic created an imperative for action that even Mitch McConnell could not ignore. In the space of just a few weeks, Congress passed three major pieces of legislation, including the largest fiscal package in this country’s history. Now, however, lawmakers have hunkered down in the safety of their in-district homes, while the Trump administration sets about administering newly appropriated funds with little challenge. It is doing a predictably poor job.