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January 21, 2021

Revolving Door Project

Letter

2020 Election/TransitionEthics in GovernmentForeign Policy

LETTER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN ON FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES

You have committed to rooting out the corruption of the previous Trump administration and have proposed sweeping government ethics proposals, which we commend. But in order to stick to these promises and to assure the American public that your administration will put national security concerns over corporate profits or foreign interests, we urge you to, at the very least, direct your nominees and appointees to clearly describe the specific nature of their past work for the private sector actors, especially those under investigation by or in ongoing contracts with the federal government. Earlier this week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, recognizing the significance of these conflicts, requested additional information on nominees’ private sector work. The undersigned groups urge you to complete this request swiftly and ensure all of your appointees disclose the full scope and nature of their private sector work.

January 19, 2021 | Slate

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Congressional OversightGovernment Capacity

Trump Has Quietly Hollowed Out the Government

Over four years, federal workers were ignored, subjected to retaliation, and fired for articulating politically inconvenient truths or standing in the way of President Donald Trump’s attacks against the public. By all accounts, that is set to change under President-elect Joe Biden. But while new attacks may not be forthcoming, the fissures from old ones will remain, threatening the federal government’s structural integrity unless the next administration and Congress take action. For all that we know about Trump’s assaults on the federal workforce, there is likely more that remains hidden. Up to this point, Democratic leadership has failed to make combating or uncovering these incursions a priority. For the sake of the Biden administration’s success, that will need to change.

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

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 Regulation

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 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 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.