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March 16, 2020

Jeff Hauser Eileen Appelbaum Dean Baker Shawn Fremstad

Blog Post

Coronavirus

Concrete Solutions to Mitigate the Health and Economic Impacts of the Pandemic

The sheer weight of executive branch incompetence, that has led to an entirely uncontained pandemic in the United States, borders on the incomprehensible. Yet, here we are. The question is whether the federal government has meaningful tools available to turn a terrible situation into one that is meaningfully less terrible. The good news is that many useful ideas exist. Here is a partial list of ideas to help inform the policy conversation as we move forward.

March 13, 2020 | The Daily Beast

Eleanor Eagan Jeff Hauser

Op-Ed

Congressional Oversight

Trump is Screwing Up His Response to the Coronavirus. House Democrats are Screwing Up their Response to Trump.

Trump’s coronavirus speech proves, once and for all, that the emperor is never going to put on clothes. We have a government without anyone meaningfully in charge of anything other than making Trump and his cronies rich. Banning flights from Europe (and excluding the United Kingdom, where the health minister(!) has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and is self-isolating) indicates Trump’s xenophobia is now guided by throwing darts.

March 13, 2020 | Talking Points Memo

Max Moran

Op-Ed

Revolving Door

Trump’s Failing Coronavirus Response is Standard Issue Republicanism in 2020

“He’s got a certain talent for this,” President Donald Trump said of Vice President Mike Pence when entrusting him with the response to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. Pence’s perpetual grimace is the new face of the U.S. response to the coronavirus, after a chaotic week when the White House health team’s internecine squabbles and revolving-door corruption got a bit too public for Trump’s comfort. GOP operatives are likely relieved that their “adult in the room” has taken over. After all, Pence may be a fundamentalist zealot, but he is at least an actual “normal” policy-maker.

March 06, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

February 2020 Update on the State of Independent Federal Agencies

As we have previously highlighted, the federal government’s 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.

March 06, 2020 | Talking Points Memo

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionCongressional Oversight

Congressional Democrats Exhibit Symptoms Of A Spinelessness Pandemic

Public health officials agree: coronavirus’ spread is no longer a matter of if but when. The only question now is, how bad is it going to get? The answer will rest on the efficacy of the government’s response, its ability to get resources where they need to be, keep the public informed and react quickly to new developments. The bad news? We have a president whose team is uniquely ill-suited to lead this process. The good news, however, is the government is larger than the executive.

February 27, 2020 | The American Prospect

Andrea Beaty Eleanor Eagan Max Moran

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionRevolving Door

The Trump Administration’s Contemptuous, Pro-Corporate Response to Coronavirus

The COVID-19 coronavirus is nearly a global pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control’s latest statement warns Americans “to prepare, in the expectation that this could be bad.” Amid a global crisis like this, the public needs true leadership from the president and his top aides, and a highly competent government deserving of the people’s trust, with the capacity to effectively respond to incoming threats.But this is the Trump administration. So instead, we are being asked to put our faith in inexperienced political cronies, servicing the needs of corporations rather than the public, and contemptuous of science, scientists, and the idea of expertise.

February 27, 2020

Andrea Beaty

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign Finance

Biden and Buttigieg See Pharma Money As The Cure For Campaign Woes

HHS secretary Alex Azar refused to guarantee a coronavirus vaccine would be affordable to all during Congressional testimony on Wednesday. The outrage reminded Americans why they are sick and tired of the unchecked pharmaceutical industry’s abuses. As we wrote for the American Prospect, Azar is a former pharma lobbyist who, like the rest of President Trump’s coronavirus response team, has no background in public health or research.

February 21, 2020 | The American Prospect

Max Moran

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign Finance

The Top Lawyer Bankrolling Democrats

The insidious influence of the wealthy over our politics, as Alexander Sammon wrote last month, is perhaps the defining issue of the 2020 Democratic primary. It’s the reason we at the Revolving Door Project have been yammering on about bundlers—the wealthy and well-connected volunteer fundraisers who almost inevitably end up receiving or influencing key jobs across the executive branch. Bundlers have driven the facile premise of both Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg’s campaigns: “I can’t be bought by the rich, because I am one of the rich who buys.” This was initially Donald Trump’s pitch, too. And the desire to reject the influence of bundlers raise hopes in Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’s campaigns, largely driven by small dollars and people power.

February 21, 2020

Andrea Beaty

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign Finance

Biden Corporate Loyalists Unite Around Super PAC

Andrea Beaty
Joe Biden’s campaign is hurting for cash and increasingly reliant on the pro- Biden super PAC, Unite the Country, for help. Unite the Country is spending big in early states — the super PAC threw over $5.5 million into Iowa and is now expanding into South Carolina. But the Unite the Country donors swooping in to save Biden’s messaging efforts build on the super PAC’s established base of corporate lobbyists and consultants. Unite the Country recently picked up new supporters from private equity, venture capital, real estate, and other sectors that may be looking for favorable policies or to influence strategic appointments.

February 19, 2020 | Truthout

Eleanor Eagan

Blog PostOp-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign Finance

As the Primary Race Heats Up, Candidates Forget Principled Campaign Finance Stands

At this time last year, newly declared Democratic primary candidates were racing to outdo each other with escalating promises to shun big money support. Contenders vowed not to take corporate PAC money, to reject lobbyists’ dollars, to discourage super PACs, and to tell fossil fuel executives, “no, thank you”. Now, however, many seem to be in a wholly different sort of race: to put the most distance between themselves and their prior principled stands.

February 06, 2020 | Democracy Journal

Jeff Hauser David Segal

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionRevolving Door

Personnel is Policy

We’ve become accustomed, watching the Democratic debates, to hearing the moderators focus on the practicability of candidates’ plans to move to Medicare for All, reform immigration policy, and fight gun violence. Make no mistake, these bills are important. They’re the type of policies a functional Congress would advance, and markers of a candidate’s vision for the country. But the media’s near-exclusive focus on these legislative proposals is deeply flawed.

January 31, 2020

Eleanor Eagan Max Moran

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign FinancePrivate EquityTech

Who Exactly Are Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg's Bundlers?

Eleanor Eagan | Max Moran

Beginning in the fall, the Revolving Door Project was one of a handful of voices drawing attention to Democratic primary candidates’ failure to release the names of their most important fundraisers. In op-eds, newsletters, and across other forums throughout the fall we repeatedly made the case that this consequential information could not stay hidden.

Why were we so insistent? A candidate’s list of top fundraisers, or bundlers, provides clearer insight than perhaps any other piece of campaign material into how a candidate would actually do the job of being president.