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August 05, 2021 | Talking Points Memo

Zena Wolf

Op-Ed

Department of JusticeEthics in GovernmentExecutive Branch

Institutionalism Can’t Save Us Now

We have no shortage of information about how historically bad an Attorney General William Barr was.  His tenure was marked by attacks on LGBTQ rights, immigrants, and peaceful protestors. His overt politicization of the investigations into Russian interference in the election, the Mueller report, and Roger Stone’s sentencing are well-documented, and in a continuing headache for the Biden Administration’s DOJ, Barr’s Justice Department’s intervened to protect Trump against E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against him just two months before the election. And yet, as we saw this week following revelations that his DOJ declined to prosecute Commerce Department officials for lying about the provenance of the Census citizenship question, what we know merely scratches the surface. 

August 03, 2021

Nika Hajikhodaverdikhan

Blog Post

Criminal JusticeDepartment of Justice

How Biden and Garland’s DOJ Can Increase Community Oversight of the Police

As people across the country continue to demand greater accountability for police misconduct, Revolving Door Project is working through its Police Accountability series to make clear how the Department of Justice can answer some of those calls. Part 1 of the series scrutinized the lack of federal, systematic data collection on law enforcement misconduct barring police accountability, explored pockets of power within the DOJ laying the groundwork for police oversight, and suggested 3 proposals. Part 2 of the Police Accountability series called for the relaunching of the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Arrest-Related Deaths program with a tested redesigned hybrid methodology. This piece introduces a second proposal wherein new conditions are placed on grants awarded out of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services’ (COPS) in an effort to leverage federal funds to actualize grassroots governed police oversight mechanisms.

August 02, 2021

Sion Bell

Blog Post

cryptocurrencyIRS

Good News for the IRS: The Economic Substance Doctrine Already Prevents Crypto Tax Avoidance

Much has been made of the ways that crypto investors have been able to skirt existing tax rules to reap massive financial gains tax free. The underlying premise is that because of loopholes in tax laws, crypto investors are able to legally avoid taxes — as opposed to illegal tax evasion — and that only by fixing our laws to close those loopholes can we ensure that crypto holders pay their taxes.

August 02, 2021 | The Forge

Mariama Eversley

Op-Ed

Criminal JusticeDepartment of Justice

How DOJ Can Defund the Police

One year ago, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd sparked an international rebellion against police violence. From this historic uprising, a longtime demand from the Black Lives Matter movement to end mass incarceration and police violence by defunding the police became a part of mainstream discourse. Local campaigns like #defundNYPD and national studies like Freedom to Thrive: Reimagining Safety and Security in Our Communities have fleshed out the meaning of defund, envisioning municipal and state budgets that invest in social safety nets over criminalization. But the executive branch ― the branch of government that creates the rules and regulations that guide the execution of federal law ― remains under-examined as a lever to effect systemic change.

July 28, 2021

Sion Bell

Blog Post

Ethics in Government

Perdue’s Sweetheart Land Deal Demonstrates Need for Stronger Ethics Rules

Since the Trump administration, the Revolving Door Project has repeatedly brought attention to the importance of strong government ethics rules, including by ensuring that presidential nominees are free from corporate conflicts of interest and forthcoming about their financial ties. But while rules already exist that require nominees to disclose financial information, including assets and recent major purchases, a recent story by the Washington Post illustrates a lingering loophole in our ethics laws for Cabinet nominees. The story centers on Trump’s then-prospective nominee for Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue, and a particularly fishy real estate deal.