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August 10, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

July 2020 Update on the State of Independent Federal Agencies

Over the past several years, President Trump’s assault on governing norms, from his refusal to reveal information about his finances to his glee in firing those who are not sufficiently loyal to him, has sparked public outcry. One set of norm violations, however, has received relatively little attention from the media or from Senate Democrats. Quietly, Trump and Mitch McConnell have undermined independent agencies’ functionality by slow-walking nominations. And, in particular, they have undermined the norm of statutorily-mandated political balance on many independent agency boards in a move that could keep regulatory power in Republican hands for years after Trump leaves office.

August 10, 2020 | Talking Points Memo

Mariama Eversley

Op-Ed

Government Capacity

The Same Racist Rhetoric Used To Oppose D.C. Statehood Keeps The Federal Government Dysfunctional

Conservatives like Cotton have long villainized African-American pathways to the middle class that include government employment. In a conservative worldview that sees the U.S. government as by and for white people, Black employment in the public sector becomes a target for the GOP and federal jobs become fodder for racist “dog whistle” politics.

August 10, 2020

Jeff Hauser Max Moran Andrea Beaty Miranda Litwak

Blog Post

Anti-MonopolyEthics in GovernmentRevolving DoorTech

The Revolving Door Project on Fighting Monopoly Power

Congress and the antitrust enforcement agencies have given unprecedented attention to the monopoly issues surrounding Big Tech in recent months. The scrutiny is one step toward rebalancing our increasingly concentrated economy, especially in the time of COVID-19, when small businesses are struggling to survive and corporations are further entrenching their power. But the problem of economic concentration extends far beyond Big Tech. It defines almost every corner of our economy. With the upcoming election and a potential shift in power, Joe Biden has an opportunity to reduce economic consolidation across the board, using executive branch powers including, but not limited to, reforming the antitrust enforcement agencies.

August 10, 2020

Mariama Eversley

Blog Post

Government Capacity

Why Hasn’t The Trump Administration Released Their Organizational Chart For The Office of Management and Budget?

In more normal times, it was routine to expect administrations to publish the organizational charts of their executive branch agencies. These charts offer transparency, giving the public a glimpse into the inner workings of the complex world of each executive branch agency. These charts also allow the public to understand how governance works and potentially identify which departments require more oversight.

August 07, 2020 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan Eileen Appelbaum

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionPrivate Equity

A Day One Agenda for Private Equity

Over the past decade, private equity has creeped and crawled into all corners of our lives. Everywhere you look across our ruinous, virus-riddled landscape, private equity is there. It is behind many of the understaffed and underprepared nursing homes through which COVID-19 tore, the surprise medical bills that will greet those lucky enough to make it home, and the evictions sending people out onto the streets amidst a global pandemic. It is also getting ready to pounce on many of the high-profile companies to have fallen since the pandemic’s onset.

August 05, 2020 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Congressional OversightTech

The Big Tech Hearings Could Be a Model for Corporate Accountability

In 2018, Democrats ran and won on a platform to hold President Trump and his cronies accountable. Many observers expected to be treated to a full schedule of oversight programming in the succeeding Congress, with a nearly endless stream of smug incompetents being caught in their lies and obfuscations. Some even dared to hope that the oversight fervor might spill over to another breed of smug incompetents: corporate CEOs. But, alas, the promised enthusiasm for oversight never seemed to materialize, let alone spread to new targets. (As usual, House Financial Services Committee chairwoman Maxine Waters, who confronted big bank CEOs within months of assuming control of her committee, stands out as a rare exception).

August 04, 2020

Public Comment

Ethics in GovernmentFinancial RegulationTech

Revolving Door Project Comments on OCC's Proposed Rulemaking on Digital Activities

As numerous civil rights and racial justice organizations have highlighted, changes to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) regulations on digital activities are likely to have far-reaching consequences as it regards economic and racial equity. Specifically, these changes risk leading to disparate impact, “digital redlining, “predatory inclusion,” and enhanced surveillance. Given the seriousness of this rulemaking’s potential consequences, the OCC should do all that it can to ensure that the public has the utmost confidence in the integrity of the rulemaking process. Sadly, in allowing that process to move forward under the leadership of an acting official with severe conflicts of interest, the Office is rendering public trust in it impossible.

July 29, 2020 | Talking Points Memo

Andrea Beaty

Op-Ed

Anti-MonopolyDepartment of JusticeFTCTech

Today’s Congressional Hearing Will Test Big Tech’s Simplest Algorithm: If An Ex-Regulator, Then Hire

The tech companies set to testify before the House today knew for years that a reckoning was in the works. They’ve been building up their defenses, and a key component of that defense is the antitrust enforcement officials who take a trip through the revolving door to the benefit of corporate clients.

July 29, 2020

Letter

2020 Election/TransitionEthics in Government

To Rebuild Public Trust, Close the Revolving Door

We, the undersigned organizations, call on the winner of the next presidential election to commit not to appoint any individual to a senior policy role in an agency or department with authority over any industry in which that individual held a senior position or served in an advisory capacity within the last five years. We also urge that, if applicable, such individuals be excluded from positions with jurisdiction over personnel matters during the transition.

July 27, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Government Capacity

Building a Federal Workforce that Works for All

By quietly capturing key positions throughout the executive branch, corporate America has reshaped the rules that govern our economy. RDP regularly calls attention to these oft-overlooked corporate allies to increase the political costs of politicians’ consequential personnel concessions. At the same time, we are leading the way in envisioning an alternative model — one in which political appointments go to a more representative, public-interest minded class of leaders — and charting how we get there. As important as this work is, however, it alone will not be sufficient to remake government for the people. Even the most committed, effective leaders can do very little to advance the public interest if the institutions they lead are broken. And our governing infrastructure is crumbling. After years of attacks from both sides of the aisle, the federal government is able to do less overall and to do what it still does less effectively. This is not, as some would have you believe, an inherent failure endemic to “Big Government” but the opposite — ineffectiveness is the direct result of disinvestment.