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November 18, 2022

KJ Boyle

Blog Post

ClimateExecutive Branch

Infrastructure Coordinator Not Coordinating With Public Transit Agency

Last November, President Biden signed the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act, better known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The bill provides $1.2 trillion for infrastructure renovations nationwide, with $91 billion earmarked for various public transportation programs. At the time, Biden announced Mitch Landrieu would be the White House’s Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator in charge of implementing the landmark legislation, more colloquially known as the “Infrastructure Czar.” Landrieu now oversees a $1.2 trillion dollar bill, so he must be in constant communication with the administrators of key agencies to ensure it’s money well spent … right?

November 14, 2022 | The Nation

Timi Iwayemi

Op-Ed

Campaign FinanceClimatecryptocurrencyFinancial Regulation

Money From Nothing: Sam Bankman-Fried’s Crypto Shakedown

The rapid meltdown of FTX stands as one of the most gruesome chapters in the annals of investment fiascos: think of the false technological promises of Elizabeth Holmes’s Theranos grift combined with the evaporation of Bernie Madoff’s prestigious Ponzi fund. But the saga of FTX involves much more than either the vanity and hubris of Holmes’s fraud offensive or the deceptive practices of the Madoff scam. The rapid rise and fall of Bankman-Fried points up the delusional character of information-age capitalism; Far from standing as an outlying trend within the crypto investment world, Bankman-Fried’s scam was nestled at the very heart of its prevailing business model.

November 01, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post

ClimateDepartment of Commerce

Gina Raimondo Should (Still) Fire NHC Acting Director Jamie Rhome

Last month, Jamie Rhome, the current Acting Director of the National Hurricane Center (NHC), effectively rejected settled climate science while discussing the then-potential severity and impact of Hurricane Ian. In that interview, Rhome said he would “caution against” linking the intensity of Hurricane Ian to climate change. To be clear, there is no question or ambiguity on this link. The worsening severity of extreme weather events as a result of climate change is something that has been firmly established, for years, by other federal agencies – like NASA – and also by international research bodies – like the National Academies – which makes Rhome’s refusal to do so all the more baffling. 

October 31, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post

Congressional OversightDepartment of Homeland SecurityDepartment of JusticeEthics in Government

A Crisis Of (Un)Accountability: Amidst Profound Political Cruelty, Ethics Matter More Than Ever

The news was flooded in September with images, reports, and increasingly abhorrent context for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ trafficking of migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard as a political stunt. DeSantis’ actions, and those of his aides, are of course potentially illegal, as was asserted by a Texas sheriff who opened a criminal investigation into the spectacle. This latest sadistic political posturing came at the cost of real people fleeing real persecution, but there is also a crucial piece of this awful puzzle that hasn’t been fully explored. Why did Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents, funded by federal dollars, allegedly forge documents for migrants knowing (even if the migrants themselves didn’t) that their flights were not destined for the locales DHS agents made their immigration proceedings beholden to?

October 28, 2022

Hannah Story Brown

Newsletter

Ethics in GovernmentGovernment CapacityIndependent AgenciesRight-Wing Media

Hack Watch: Debunking the Big Budget Bogeyman

It seems pretty incontestable that a big part of the media’s job is “informing the public of things they need to know.” Accordingly, the media’s coverage of how the government spends money is a spectacular example of how it fails. Congress has enabled a vacuum of sensible, accessible information about the appropriations bills it’s supposed to pass each year to fund government activity, and the media has not stepped in to fill the void.

October 17, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post

Executive BranchIndependent Agencies

Independent Agency Update Summer 2022

Personnel is policy, which means that the people who make up our federal institutions matter. Which means that the partisan Republican assault on the staffing up of the federal agencies that regulate so much of the public’s everyday life also matters greatly. Unfortunately, as we have highlighted for months and will continue to highlight for as long as it persists, the federal government is being gutted from the inside out by a blockade of overdue qualified leadership.