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May 10, 2023 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter
There are a lot of things you could say about the GOP’s proposed plan to reduce the deficit. But if we want to be more expansive than just calling it “batshit crazy” and washing our hands of the whole clown show, as we think Biden can and should, then we could point out that the GOP plan is an expression of profound hostility to the idea of a federal government that serves anyone besides war profiteers.
May 03, 2023 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter
On the Debt, Biden Has No Choice But To Make One
On Monday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen shortened the estimate of when the U.S. could default on its debt to as soon as June 1. We’re less than a month out from the so-called X-date: the day that the federal government runs out of cash. President Biden has invited House and Senate leadership to the White House to talk debt this coming Tuesday, with highly uncertain results.
April 26, 2023 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter
Tyranny, Thy Name is SCOTUS
We can be forgiven for thinking that Clarence Thomas set a high-water mark for judicial corruption that would be hard for his colleagues to surpass. Just yesterday, a new investigation from The Intercept and the Project on Government Oversight deepened what we know of Thomas and billionaire donor Harlan Crow’s financial ties, highlighting how Crow purchased a second citizenship in the tax haven island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis, which makes tracking Crow’s financial transactions—including his gifts to Thomas—extremely difficult. The investigators point out that this will complicate Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden’s request that Crow provide evidence that he “complied with all relevant federal tax and ethics laws.” Nothing worrisome about a top U.S. justice being financially entangled with a billionaire who changed his citizenship to evade U.S. law!
April 20, 2023 | The American Prospect
As the revelations of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s flagrant corruption continue to unspool, scrutiny of the weak ethics rules binding the Court has intensified. The Senate Judiciary Committee is supposed to oversee the Court, but it has proven itself not remotely up to the task of rooting out judicial corruption. And amid this disturbing situation, a Supreme Court conference this Friday provides an opening for Court conservatives to try to game their few ethical limits in plain sight.
April 18, 2023 | The New Republic
The Ghost of a Trump Appointee Is Haunting Merrick Garland’s Justice Department
Tracing Clark’s lingering impact on ongoing litigation makes clear that the legacy of Trump’s Justice Department still haunts our governance and that failing to treat his cronies like the menace they are is worsening outcomes across the country. In some cases, Attorney General Merrick Garland is still carrying forward with the arguments Clark helped shape. In others, the Justice Department and its client agencies are at a critical juncture of having to decide whether to break from past positions or maintain continuity with positions they adopted during the Trump administration.
April 12, 2023 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter
This Era of Elite Impunity Must End
What is it called when one of the nine most powerful judges in the U.S.—a man whose title is literally Justice—has routinely accepted secret private jet rides and luxury yacht vacations from a billionaire right-wing mega-donor for over two decades? What does it mean that this was not disclosed, in violation of the Ethics in Government Act? If the ruling class wants the public to believe that the rule of law means anything to them, then the answer must be “breaking the law,” necessitating investigations, trials, and professional consequences.
April 05, 2023 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter
Several Flavors of Regulatory Failures
Until the Biden administration learns that they need to draw a sharp contrast with their predecessors and, generally, do a full 180, they will keep getting egg on their faces. And when the blame genuinely belongs to both the Trump and Biden administrations, warranted criticism of disastrous Republican deregulation is undermined.
April 03, 2023 | The American Prospect
If we at the Revolving Door Project could exhort the Biden administration to do anything, it would be this: Choose the right enemies—rich, powerful corporations that harm the public, most often with impunity. Sometimes you will lose, but that doesn’t mean you should forfeit the fight. And getting caught trying can inspire the public to rally around a political party and its leaders.
March 17, 2023
Just last week, I highlighted the enormous stakes of the Justice Department’s long-anticipated filing in a climate liability case brought by Boulder County, Colorado against fossil fuel companies Suncor Energy and ExxonMobil seeking damages for their campaign of corporate deception. […] Yesterday, the Justice Department finally offered its answer.
March 15, 2023 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter
Selling Out the Arctic; Bailing Out the Rich
The year is 2023, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 50 percent higher than it was before the Industrial Revolution, and the so-called “climate president” has decided to go ahead with industrializing the Arctic wilderness, a region already warming four times faster than the rest of the world.
March 08, 2023
Over halfway through Biden’s term, Attorney General Merrick Garland is maintaining the Trump Justice Department’s position on an alarming number of legal cases. Our litigation tracker documents approximately 40 such cases across education, immigration, the environment, criminal justice, transparency, agriculture and other issues. It is by no means a comprehensive list.
March 01, 2023 | The American Prospect
A 38-car train wreck. Toxic chemicals seeping into water and soil, and a black plume rising in the sky. Sick people, sick pets. As the Prospect’s Jarod Facundo wrote last week, the national spotlight remains fixed on the ecological consequences of the February 3 derailment of a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio.
In the context of this ecological disaster, arguing for a reduced budget for federal investigators, air and water quality testing, and programs that hold polluting corporations accountable for proper cleanup and restitution is sheer madness. But that’s exactly what the current right-wing push for massive government spending cuts in the name of deficit reduction would entail.
February 15, 2023 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter
The Value of a Human Life, According to Economists
Last week a shocking story from NPR largely slipped under the radar. The headline: “Why the EPA puts a higher value on rich lives lost to climate change.” Climate Correspondent Rebecca Hersher shared the “twisted tale of math, ethics and climate change” that is the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to decide what’s been called the most important number you’ve never heard of: the social cost of greenhouse gases.
February 08, 2023 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter
Will the White House Let Covid Vaccine Prices Skyrocket?
Since the early days of the pandemic, the federal government has been pre-purchasing Covid vaccines at an average cost of around $20 per dose (around $29 per dose for the bivalent boosters) to ensure public access to vaccination at no cost. However, with Congress no longer willing to fund Covid treatment, the Biden administration has indicated that it intends to end the Covid public health emergency in May, and more or less hand over control of Covid prevention to the healthcare industry.
February 03, 2023
Revolving Door Project Reading List: The Justice Department
The Justice Department was deliberately weaponized under Trump to advance and defend his corrupt agenda. How successfully has Biden’s Justice Department, led by Attorney General Merrick Garland, replaced Trump appointees and policies, and charted a new course towards a more just interpretation and application of the law? Below, we’ve compiled a non-comprehensive reading list of some of our work from the past year plus on the Justice Department, and its all-important, uneven progress out of Trump’s long shadow.