December 18, 2020
Use this ongoing tracker to monitor the ties to Big Tech from individuals on the agency review teams, individuals who have been officially designated as nominees, and others who we suspect are jockeying for posts right now.
December 17, 2020 | The American Prospect
In an age of financialization and monopoly, ‘private-sector experience’ too often translates into those who successfully plunder for profit. Jeffrey Zients epitomizes that trend.
December 16, 2020
After news broke that Michael Regan, who currently leads the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, was the new frontrunner to lead the EPA — and was also being considered to be director of the EPA’s Southeast Region Office — environmental justice leaders in North Carolina began pushing back immediately.
December 16, 2020
Americans are fed up with their government working better for corporate America than it does for them. The Revolving Door Project’s proposed executive order on ethics goes further than any in history towards stopping the revolving door from spinning and shifting the balance of power towards the populace.
December 15, 2020
Pete Buttigieg is now a top contender for Secretary of Transportation in the Biden Administration, but his tendency to shift policy positions based on the preferences of large donors and industry lobbyists remains a significant concern if he were chosen to head DOT.
December 15, 2020 | Washington Post
It is a telling misunderstanding of the revolving-door critique to equate Jeffrey D. Zients’s private-sector history with that of all businesses. Mr. Zients is not a wealthy and respected businessman because he made a particularly good widget or displayed unusual managerial skill.
December 13, 2020
Concerns over the presence of corporate insiders in the Biden administration are coming opportunistically from so-called “right-wing populists.” This makes it all the more important for Biden and the Democrats to close the revolving door once and for all.
December 11, 2020
Mary Nichols, the reported frontrunner to lead Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency, has been appointed four times to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and is best known for spearheading California’s cap-and-trade program. Since the program began, California’s carbon emissions from its oil and gas industry rose 3.5%. For a state that would have the fifth-largest economy if it were a country, anything but a significant and ongoing decline in carbon emissions is disastrous.
December 11, 2020 | The American Prospect
It’s December, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is still dodging calls to explicitly acknowledge that President Trump lost the election. It’s clear, however, that he knows who the next president will be. True to form, he’s working hard to undermine Joe Biden by confirming Trump’s nominees to independent agencies in the final days. This could shut down Biden’s ability to influence critical agencies’ composition for months, if not years, with severe consequences for regulatory enforcement and new rulemaking.
December 09, 2020
“We are glad that advocates and authorities across the country have begun to recognize the democratic imperative of ending concentrated economic power. In the case of Big Tech firms like Facebook, Google, and Amazon, the power they wield over the internet, the economy, our government, and broader society has had an incalculable impact.”
December 08, 2020
The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a hugely underappreciated and powerful position. The USDA’s programs and regulations touch policy areas far beyond traditional agriculture, impacting climate change, food policy, immigration, antitrust issues, rural development, and racial justice. Biden’s choice to lead the USDA must be ready and willing to employ the USDA’s power and pursue the following policy goals.
December 07, 2020
Sally Yates, an anti-Trump #Resistance icon, spent her last year in Obama’s Justice department refusing to act on a high-profile clemency initiative, prompting a furious resignation letter from Obama’s pardon attorney. After her famous firing in the early Trump days, Yates went to work for BigLaw firm King & Spalding’s “Special Matters and Government Investigations” practice, which is BigLawspeak for “teaching corporate America which laws they can violate without DOJ filing suit, and how to tamp down on suits which they do file.”
December 04, 2020
With scant days remaining in this Congress, Senate Republicans are busily working to undermine the incoming Biden administration by rushing to confirm Trump’s nominees to terms that will last well beyond January 20, 2021. Yesterday, in a close 48 to 47 vote, they installed Christopher Waller to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in a term that will not expire until 2030, robbing Biden of the seat. With Mike Pence and his potential tie-breaking vote out of town, Kamala Harris (in her capacity as a Senator) had the power to delay, if not stop it.
December 04, 2020
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 minority party 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.