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April 11, 2020 | Washington Monthly

Max Moran


Revolving DoorTech

How Big Tech Is Preparing for a Biden Presidency

If Joe Biden wins in November, you can bet that Big Tech’s representatives will do the same thing as every other industry’s political strategists: scour the list of more than four thousand appointments across the executive branch the new president needs to make, and figure out which of their loyalists are ready for a spin through the government’s revolving door.

April 08, 2020 | Talking Points Memo

Max Moran


Department of JusticeEthics in Government

What Will Feds Do About Corporate Bailout Bill Corruption? Look To Walmart's Opioids Case

If and when we (likely inevitably) learn that bailed-out companies and multi-trillion dollar slush funds misuse the public disaster relief dollars doled out by the Trump administration in the wake of the pandemic, we should turn back to this Walmart story for further evidence of why big corporations are rarely held accountable.

April 06, 2020 | Alternet

Max Moran


Ethics in Government

Jared Kushner is the point man for private profiteering on the coronavirus response

Hot off of singlehandedly ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, America’s Son-In-Law-In-Chief has put himself in charge of handling half of the White House response to the coronavirus crisis. Didn’t you know that? No? Oh, well, it seems the White House just decided that, ah, the people didn’t need to hear about this. Oh, and FYI, most of his team are from the private sector. That’s not a problem, Congressional Democrats, is it?

March 13, 2020 | Talking Points Memo

Max Moran


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.

February 27, 2020 | The American Prospect

Andrea Beaty Eleanor Eagan Max Moran


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 21, 2020 | The American Prospect

Max Moran


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.

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.

January 27, 2020 | InsideSources

Max Moran


2020 Election/TransitionCampaign Finance

The Issue Dividing Democratic Candidates Is Hidden in Plain Sight

Takes came in hot and heavy last weekend after the New York Times editorial board endorsed both Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for the Democratic presidential nomination, mercifully ending the paper’s self-aggrandizing pseudo-event widely compared to … that’s right … “The Apprentice.”

The Times split its endorsement due to the intra-Democratic cleave between what it termed a “radical” path represented by Warren and a “pragmatic” path represented by Klobuchar.

December 04, 2019 | The American Prospect

Max Moran


2020 Election/TransitionAnti-MonopolyRevolving Door

Bloomberg News’ Curious Interpretation of Editorial Independence

Bloomberg News raised some eyebrows in the media world last week when reports leaked that it won’t investigate former New York mayor and Wall Street darling Michael Bloomberg as he (groan) runs for president. The news outlet also decided to refrain from investigating any other Democrats running, to maintain a level playing field, and added that the opinion page would publish no outside op-eds on the election as long as its owner remained a candidate.

October 23, 2019 | The American Prospect

Max Moran



Moderate Democrats Back a Privacy Bill, Minus the Privacy

“We need to start thinking not just about ticky-tack privacy rules, but what’s the reason why companies invade our privacy? And one of those reasons is the behavioral advertising model … it’s often manipulative. So we have to think about how these businesses are incentivized and structured if we want to get to the root cause of massive surveillance in our economy today.”

So declared FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra at a hearing on online platforms and market power last week. Chopra, who’s earned a reputation as a crusader in his short term thus far, was opening the door to a far deeper conversation about Big Tech than one usually hears in Washington, even in the midst of the so-called “techlash.”

October 07, 2019 | The American Prospect

Max Moran


Financial RegulationRevolving DoorTech

Freddie Mac Using Shady AI Company for Mortgage Loans

The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage giant, is testing underwriting software from fintech firm ZestFinance. A creation of ex-Google executive Douglas Merrill, ZestFinance claims to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to spot trends in a borrower’s record that traditional lending models miss. This supposedly allows more credit to flow to borrowers who need and can afford it, allowing Freddie to issue more mortgages.