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January 03, 2020 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign Finance

The Christmas Miracle: Biden’s Unexamined List of High-Powered Fundraisers

’Twas the Friday after Christmas, when all through the land, not a person was working, the computers unmanned. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while Joe Biden released the names of the wealthy and well-connected volunteers who are fundraising for his campaign.
These fundraisers, otherwise known as bundlers, have all brought in at least $25,000 for the campaign, although many have likely brought in sums an order of magnitude larger, or at least plan to throughout the course of the campaign.

December 09, 2019

Letter

2020 Election/Transition

Coalition Requests Moderators Ask About Executive Branch

To: Judy Woodruff, Tim Alberta, Amna Nawaz, Yamiche Alcindor, PBS NewsHour, Politico, and the organizers of the December 19th Democratic debate
We, the undersigned organizations, urgently request that you ask each Democratic presidential candidate about how they would wield powers specific to the executive branch at the next debate on December 19th. In particular, we request that you ask about what qualifications each candidate will prioritize in making key nominations and appointments to the various departments and independent agencies that will fall under the next president’s purview.  In prior debates, the presidential candidates have enjoyed the opportunity to propose their ideal legislative fixes for several issues. However, while presidents often help guide their party’s legislative efforts, it is their ultimate duty to veto or sign the laws that Congress passes, and then to execute the laws of the land.

December 04, 2019 | The American Prospect

Max Moran

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionAnti-MonopolyRevolving Door

Bloomberg News’ Curious Interpretation of Editorial Independence

Bloomberg News raised some eyebrows in the media world last week when reports leaked that it won’t investigate former New York mayor and Wall Street darling Michael Bloomberg as he (groan) runs for president. The news outlet also decided to refrain from investigating any other Democrats running, to maintain a level playing field, and added that the opinion page would publish no outside op-eds on the election as long as its owner remained a candidate.

December 02, 2019

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

November Update on the State of Independent Federal Agencies

Eleanor Eagan
The federal government’s forty independent federal agencies receive too little attention relative to their importance to our collective safety and prosperity. The Revolving Door Project has worked through multiple channels to shed light on these overlooked agencies and the threats that they face. We hope public education will generate pressure to safeguard the independence of these agencies and ensure that they are staffed with advocates for the public interest rather than corporate insiders. 

November 19, 2019

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Congressional Oversight

Committee on Ways and Means Must Investigate Opportunity Zones

Lawmakers sold opportunity zones as a solution for this country’s poorest communities but, two years into the program, that claim does not seem to be holding up. Rather than infusing poor communities with much-needed cash, it seems that many zones are padding the already bursting pockets of some of the country’s wealthiest individuals. No story has better embodied the mismatch between the program’s intent and actual outcome than ProPublica’s report, out last week, detailing how a luxury apartment development in a superyacht marina came to qualify for the tax break. 

November 15, 2019

Letter

2020 Election/Transition

Coalition Requests Moderators Ask About Executive Branch

To: Moderators Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, Kristen Welker, Ashley Parker, MSNBC, and The Washington Post
We, the undersigned organizations, urgently request that you ask each Democratic presidential candidate about how they would wield powers specific to the executive branch at the next debate on November 20th. In particular, we request that you ask about what qualifications each candidate will prioritize in making key nominations and appointments to the various departments and independent agencies that will fall under the next president’s purview. 

November 12, 2019

Letter

Independent Agencies

Dems Must Confront GOP Attacks On Independent Agencies

TO: INTERESTED PARTIES
It is no secret that President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will abandon the basic norms that govern our democracy whenever it serves their interests. However, one important breach has gone largely undetected. Quietly, Trump and McConnell have undermined statutorily-mandated political balance on many independent agency boards by refusing to nominate Democrats, and slow-walking or blocking them in the Senate.

November 07, 2019

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Congressional OversightFinancial Regulation

Freshman Democrats Seek to Make Corporate Oversight Routine Again

Eleanor Eagan
Rep. Ayanna Pressley introduced legislation last week to require the CEOs of the country’s largest banks to testify before Congress at least once per year. While this might seem a perfectly run-of-the-mill measure from an outside vantage point, it is a marked departure from this Congress’ aversion to most oversight (especially of corporations). Indeed, most members of Congress have shown no appetite for the type of populist, corporate oversight for which we at the Revolving Door Project have advocated. Pressley, along with a handful of other freshman Democrats (and Rep. Maxine Waters) are notable exceptions. It is long past time that their approach became more mainstream. 

November 01, 2019 | Talking Points Memo

Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Congressional Oversight

The Impeachable Offense That Democrats Should Stop Ignoring

For the better part of this year, House Democrats have been consumed by a battle over how best to use their newfound power. One side called for impeachment from the start. The other side insisted that Democrats focus on kitchen table issues like health care. But the choice has always been false; the House can and should do both. In addition to the active impeachment inquiry into Trump’s efforts to influence the 2020 election, there should be a second, no less serious impeachment inquiry into Trump’s efforts to undermine Obamacare.

November 01, 2019

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

October Update on the State of Independent Federal Agencies

Eleanor Eagan
The federal government’s forty independent federal agencies receive too little attention relative to their importance to our collective safety and prosperity. The Revolving Door Project has worked through multiple channels to shed light on these overlooked agencies and the threats that they face. We hope public education will generate pressure to safeguard the independence of these agencies and ensure that they are staffed with advocates for the public interest rather than corporate insiders. 

October 23, 2019 | The American Prospect

Max Moran

Op-Ed

Tech

Moderate Democrats Back a Privacy Bill, Minus the Privacy

“We need to start thinking not just about ticky-tack privacy rules, but what’s the reason why companies invade our privacy? And one of those reasons is the behavioral advertising model … it’s often manipulative. So we have to think about how these businesses are incentivized and structured if we want to get to the root cause of massive surveillance in our economy today.”

So declared FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra at a hearing on online platforms and market power last week. Chopra, who’s earned a reputation as a crusader in his short term thus far, was opening the door to a far deeper conversation about Big Tech than one usually hears in Washington, even in the midst of the so-called “techlash.”

October 23, 2019

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

Trump’s Hidden Attention to Detail in Avoiding Accountability

Eleanor Eagan
With each passing day, President Trump’s criminal syndicate looks weaker. Until recently, hoping for defections on the scale we’re seeing now might have seemed like a pipe dream, but it turns out that several of Trump’s former associates do have limits on what they will tolerate (even if it is sometimes puzzling where exactly they draw the line). Unfortunately, while several of these figures have been able to provide valuable testimony, none have had the power to hold Trump accountable directly. And conveniently, Trump has incapacitated those corners of the administration, like the Federal Election Commission (FEC) — which currently lacks a quorum and therefore cannot function — that are outside of his direct influence and therefore would have the power to hold him to account in the event of partisan defections. 

October 19, 2019 | Washington Monthly

Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Congressional Oversight

House Democrats Are Failing to Protect Farmers from Trump

Times are tough for American farmers. Everything from corporate consolidation to falling commodity prices is making it harder to get by. Strange, then, that the person most responsible for safeguarding their wellbeing, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, brought the following message to a gathering of Wisconsin dairy farmers: “In America, the big get bigger and the small go out. I don’t think in America we, for any small business, we have a guaranteed income or guaranteed profitability.” In other words, he was telling the farmers: you’re probably screwed and there’s nothing you can do about it.

October 07, 2019 | The American Prospect

Max Moran

Op-Ed

Financial RegulationRevolving DoorTech

Freddie Mac Using Shady AI Company for Mortgage Loans

The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage giant, is testing underwriting software from fintech firm ZestFinance. A creation of ex-Google executive Douglas Merrill, ZestFinance claims to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to spot trends in a borrower’s record that traditional lending models miss. This supposedly allows more credit to flow to borrowers who need and can afford it, allowing Freddie to issue more mortgages.