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Newsletter | Revolving Door Project Newsletter | July 10, 2024

RDP Work Roundup: 4th of July Edition

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This newsletter was originally published on our Substack. Read and subscribe here.

After a long 4th of July weekend, we figure this a good time to take a look back at the important work we’ve fired off over the last month or so. From analyses of Trump’s executive tenure to a take-down of a Big Oil myth pushed by compromised Democrats, here’s another edition of an RDP Work Roundup for you to digest along with your leftovers from holiday barbecues.

The FTC’s Noncompete Setback

Last week, in an eleventh hour ruling handed down before the Fourth, a Trump-appointed judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction on the FTC’s non-compete ban. Judge Ada Brown’s ruling stayed the ban only for the parties in the case rather than scrapping the rule completely (for a full breakdown of the ruling, see Monday’s edition of Matt Stoller’s BIG newsletter.) In light of the decision, we shared our research on the Trump administration alumni spearheading the corporate push to stop the noncompete ban. Trump’s legacy exists through his chosen executive branch officials, who are using their insider knowledge of the government to protect corporations from accountability. 

While the ruling is a setback, it is just the beginning of the legal fight against the non-compete ban. Brown’s initial ruling may be an ominous sign of things to come in her final ruling, set to be released on August 30. Furthermore, a Biden-appointed judge overseeing ATS Tree Services v. FTC, another case challenging the regulation, is set to issue a ruling on a preliminary injunction on July 23, which could further muddy the waters. We will continue to follow the cases and keep our readers informed about the revolvers, such as former Trump Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, who are fighting the FTC to keep worker mobility, competition, and wages low.

We Can’t Forget How Bad Trump’s Executive Branch Was… And Would Be Again

The FTC non-compete case serves as yet another reminder that Trump stacked his administration with corporate-friendly cronies. Trump’s stewardship of the vast executive branch was so inept, with so many villainous characters that it’s sometimes difficult to remember the countless harmful policies amidst the equally countless scandals. Luckily, we’ve done a full accounting so that you—and the media—have an easily accessible resource recounting Trump’s mismanagement of various executive branch agencies.

To read the memos, visit our Trump Retrospectives page, or read individual memos here: antitrustdisaster managementeducationenvironmentfinancial regulationhealthcarehousingimmigrationlabortransportation

We’re also beginning to get some indication as to who Trump will tap if he wins power again. As our Toni Aguilar Rosenthal and Jeff Hauser wrote for Slate, Trump announced that he’ll consider Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to lead his Department of Justice. This would be an unmitigated disaster. In Texas, Paxton tenure has been rife with misuse of public resources, politically motivated investigations, and suppression of whistleblowers. Any Trump Attorney General will undoubtedly weaponize their authority to some extent, but Paxton wielding the levers of power at the DOJ is a truly grim prospect.

The Supreme Court Continues To Dismantle The Administrative State 

In our last roundup, we celebrated the launch of our new Supreme Transparency website wherein we exposed the complex web of amici filers with ties to Supreme Court justices and their wealthy benefactors. With a slew of detrimental Supreme Court decisions over the last few weeks, our research remains distressingly relevant. For primers on the amici filers that influenced SEC v. Jarkesy and Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo—two cases that greatly diminish the authority of the administrative state—see these two blogs from our Will Royce and Vishal Shankar.

Matt Yglesias And His Dishonest Characterization Of Our Work

Matt Yglesias does not hide his disdain for our organization and our work. We of course welcome a healthy policy discussion when people disagree, but Yglesias routinely misrepresents our work while  calling our Executive Director a liar and RDP a clown show obsessed with character assassination. That’s a bit harsh if you ask me, but rather than engage in name calling, our Dylan Gyauch-Lewis took the high road with a blog breaking down the inflation debate and correcting Yglesias’ mischaracterizations of our position. We really hope that Matt will be more honest in the future, but we’ll continue to set the record straight if not.

Big Oil Dems Are Still Pushing “Certified Gas”

The oil and gas industry is fighting tooth and nail to push the myth of “certified” natural gas as a low-emission energy option. After the Biden administration paused approvals of new liquefied natural gas exports, eight House Democrats with Big Oil ties signed a letter calling for an exception for certified gas—gas that has been deemed lower emitting by a third party company. But certification is not the climate-friendly solution it claims to be. Certifiers use opaque processes and data to determine which producers qualify, giving the public no way to verify whether their assessments are accurate, not to mention the industry’s rising methane emissions that belies claims of “clean” natural gas. Thankfully, our Hannah Story Brown has been on top of this beat with a thorough accounting of Big Oil’s latest scheme in The Lever. 

Neoliberal, Corporate Apologist Hacks Abound

Our Hackwatch website has been updated with several new profiles of pundits that speak on behalf of corporate interests. Our new bios include Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase and frequent guest in mainstream outlets wherein he argues against student loan forgiveness and stricter bank regulations; economist and writer Adam Posen who regularly pushes anti-worker arguments in service of “free” trade; neoliberal economist Ken Rogoff who ought to be considered an academic fraud for his botched numbers in research that led to austerity measures during the Great Recession (see Dylan’s piece on this scandal in The Sling); and Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell, who regularly uses her platform to run cover for corporate price hikes and defend business interests. Check out the full profiles at our Hackwatch website!

Want more? Check out some of the pieces that we have published or contributed research or thoughts to in the last week: 

Trump’s Former Officials Are Helping Corporations Overturn the FTC’s Noncompete Ban

Amicus Spotlight: SEC v. Jarkesy

Deputy AG Monaco Asked to Recuse from DOJ Boeing Decision

The Government Created the Most Profitable Company in America

Why Trump’s Running-mate Choice Could Matter for Oil Companies, Banks, Tech and Other Sectors

Biden’s Inner Circle Deserves Some Blame Too

Retrospective Memos on Trump Presidency

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