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January 26, 2021

Dorothy Slater Zena Wolf

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateFinancial RegulationIndependent Agencies

Why The Next CFTC Chairperson Must Prioritize Climate Action Over Market Fads

Initially created to regulate futures derivatives on crops that had yet to be harvested, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) holds newfound possibility in the coming decade. It is absolutely crucial that a modern-day CFTC taps into the power it already holds to lead on climate action. Naturally, this necessitates a leader with a proven record of taking on corporate power. Any appointee should be prepared to advocate for the public interest, acknowledge the current reality of climate decay we find ourselves in, and creatively apply tools of the government to take immediate action.

January 22, 2021

Miranda Litwak Andrea Beaty

Blog Post

Anti-MonopolyBigLaw

Right-Wing “Holding Pen” Firm May Snag Antitrust Division If Susan Davies Is Appointed

In a disappointing continuation from the Trump Administration, Politico reported last week that a Kirkland & Ellis lawyer is in contention to help lead the Department of Justice, raising serious concerns among anti-monopoly advocates. According to the article, Susan Davies, a litigation partner at Kirkland, might be the next assistant attorney general for antitrust.

January 22, 2021

Andrea Beaty Miranda Litwak

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionAnti-MonopolyTech

Big Tech’s Top Picks to Lead DOJ Antitrust Division

Big Tech has a huge stake in who Biden ultimately staffs his antitrust and tech regulators. These individuals will decide how aggressively to carry out Biden’s promises of reining in the political and market power of these companies. If Big Tech gets its way, Biden will staff his antitrust teams with its attorneys and allies, who have pushed back against calls to break up these monopolies and protected them against regulation and enforcement. But if Biden wants to keep his campaign promises to take on monopolies, he must shut the revolving door between the federal government and Big Tech. That starts by rejecting for top jobs the following Big Tech allies.

January 22, 2021

Miranda Litwak

Newsletter

2020 Election/Transition

RDP PERSONNEL UPDATE - 1/22/20

This newsletter provides regular updates on Biden Administration personnel decisions. While we do not claim to capture the full powers and responsibilities of these positions, we will discuss the top Administration jobs Biden has yet to fill. We also discuss the individuals vying for top jobs who present serious conflicts of interest.

January 22, 2021 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionIndependent Agencies

The Chopra Gambit

On Monday, President Biden announced his intention to name Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s next director, earning a rare, unqualified cheer from the party’s left flank. Despite serving in the minority on the FTC, Chopra has managed to have a ground-shaking impact, earning a reputation for skillful and creative maneuvering. It is encouraging to see his dogged work for the public interest rewarded and the CFPB land in such capable hands. Just elevating Chopra, however, is not enough. If Democrats are serious about good governance and building their party’s power, they must look to the institutional features that provided Chopra with a platform and honed his governing skills so that, moving forward, he is not such a lonely figure.

January 22, 2021

Zena Wolf

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionFinancial Regulation

Potential Comptroller of the Currency Mehrsa Baradaran’s Background

Baradaran seems committed to challenging the status quo of our financial system that sidelines poor and marginalized communities. The OCC has long been part of a banking system that reinforces racial injustice rather than addresses it — and that remained largely true even after Dodd-Frank was passed and implemented by Obama’s regulatory team. Voices like Baradaran’s are valuable in reconsidering financial regulation and helping raise the bar for who is and who is not an adequately zealous regulator.

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 21, 2021

Miranda Litwak

Press Release

2020 Election/TransitionEthics in GovernmentForeign Policy

Biden Administration Must Go Further in Financial Disclosures to Reveal Possible Conflicts of Interest in Foreign Policy Making, Groups Say in Open Letter

Dozens of foreign policy, faith-based, environmental organizations, and watchdog groups are calling on President Biden to require more thorough screenings for, and disclosures of, possible conflicts of interest among nominees and appointees to the new administration. In a letter sent to the White House today, over 40 groups, including the American Friends Service Committee, Friends of the Earth, Government Accountability Project, Peace Action, Project on Government Oversight, Public Citizen, Win Without War, and the Revolving Door Project say the Personal Financial Disclosures submitted by Biden’s nominees do not include vital information about private sector work and personal investments, posing questions about potential conflicts of interest.

January 21, 2021

Timi Iwayemi

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionFintechTech

Michael Barr's Past And Present Raise Deep Concerns If Appointed

If appointed to Biden’s OCC, Barr will confront one major new question for the primary federal regulator of banks: how to handle the emergent “fintech” industry of lending and payments apps. Disturbingly, Barr’s history advising and investing in the fintech industry suggests an approach similar to Trump’s own fintech-friendly stooge, former acting Comptroller Brian Brooks.

January 21, 2021

Dorothy Slater

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateFinancial Regulation

Why the Comptroller of the Currency Must Be a Climate Leader

The OCC could also update the Comptroller’s Handbook to guide bank examiners to measure climate risk in their assessments, which would force banks to measure climate risk in their own internal stress tests. This would also push banks to make environmentally sound decisions, because they would be recontextualized as financially savvy decisions.

January 21, 2021

Ella Fanger Sion Bell

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionEthics in GovernmentGovernment Capacity

To Build Back Better, Biden Must Fix Government

Yesterday, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. President Biden has promised to build back a better America, but he faces a steep climb to reach this lofty goal. The nation is still reeling from an ongoing pandemic and recession, and the government has had to cope with massive shocks to the civil service, morale, and its basic functions during the Trump administration. To make good on his promise, Biden will need to undo the damage from Trump and decades of right-wing actions to undermine governance.

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.