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Blog Post | March 5, 2021

Revolver Spotlight: Lisa Monaco

2020 Election/TransitionDepartment of Justice
Revolver Spotlight: Lisa Monaco

If confirmed as Deputy Attorney General, Lisa Monaco will be the second most powerful legal officer in the executive branch. But her financial disclosures raise profound concerns about who Monaco will truly be serving while in office. 

According to the disclosures, Monaco earned millions from giant corporations that have, in turn, benefitted from her close ties to government regulators and prosecutors. Despite earning a nearly $1 million salary at her law firm, Monaco still chose to sell her insider knowledge and connections to defense contractors and big tech companies as a principal at the shadow lobbying firm, WestExec Advisors and as a private consultant. Her extensive client list begs the question: who will Monaco fight for at DOJ? 

Here are just a few of the most concerning highlights from Monaco’s time in the corporate sector:

Monaco was a partner in the white-collar corporate defense practice at O’Melveny & Myers, a go-to law firm of the Trump family.

  • O’Melveny defended Trump in two class action lawsuits involving Trump University. The firm also helped vet Trump transition team nominees and defended the Trump inaugural committee in a lawsuit accusing the group of funneling money to the Trump Organization and family.
  • Monaco’s clients at O’Melveny included fossil fuel company ExxonMobil, auto manufacturer Kia Motors, and massive health insurance provider Humana.
  • Monaco also provided counsel to Apple, which has violated human and labor rights in China. Antitrust advocates have also blasted Apple for using its considerable market power to exploit software developers and consumers. According to a 2020 investigation by the House Judiciary Committee, Apple’s significant monopoly power over software distribution has harmed market competition, stifled innovation, and increased prices, and reduced choices for consumers.   

Monaco had her own consultancy, LOM Strategies, where she advised rideshare giant Lyft.

  • Lyft poured millions of dollars into campaigning in favor of California’s Prop 22, which allowed the company to avoid giving its drivers adequate employment and health care benefits. The company is now facing a $3,371 fine for “deceptive and improperly labeled campaign ads in support of Prop 22.” The industry-backed “Yes On 22” campaign was opposed by both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris during the 2020 campaign. Prop 22 has already led to job and wage cuts. One study found that the measure guaranteed a minimum wage of under $6 for rideshare drivers. In January 2021, a group of rideshare drivers and the Service Employees International Union sued to overturn Prop 22
  • Lyft faces allegations by dozens of women that the company has failed to enact basic safety measures that would have prevent assaults by drivers.

Monaco was a principal at shadow lobbying firm WestExec, an “administration-in-waiting” whose alums have gone on to accept powerful positions in the Biden administration.

  • WestExec carefully avoids registering as a lobbyist so they don’t have to disclose their clients, despite doing much of the work lobbyists do. The firm has come under fire for failing to disclose their clients by journalists, activists, and lawmakers.
  • WestExec’s clients include Big Tech firms seeking to obtain contracts from the Defense Department. The firm was “deeply involved” in Google’s Defense Department contract work, Project Maven. Google faced intense scrutiny over Project Maven, as many of Google’s own employees protested the contract
  • Monaco’s WestExec clients included defense contractors like Boeing and tech venture capital funds like SoftBank. While at WestExec, she also spoke to defense contractors Booz Allen Hamilton and Lockheed Martin in paid speaking engagements on national and cyber security issues

Monaco was on the board of Accenture, Cognosante, and Alclear.

  • Monaco sat on the board of Accenture, a large consulting firm that contracts with the federal government. The firm has paid over $65 million in False Claims Act penalties after facing allegations of defrauding the government. 
2020 Election/TransitionDepartment of Justice

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