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July 27, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

FOIA Request

FOIA For Staff Lists and Leadership Directories

Transparency surrounding the identities of the country’s senior-most political leaders should be a given. Unfortunately, the federal government presently falls short in this regard. Inconsistent and insufficient standards for publishing and maintaining leadership and senior staff directories makes it difficult, if not impossible, to learn who occupies hundreds of critical roles throughout the federal government.

July 16, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Press Release

Intellectual PropertyRevolving Door

With Rumored USPTO Pick, Biden Prioritized Patronage Over Patent Reform

After months of delay, Biden is rumored to have selected a new Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) acceptable to Delaware Senator Chris Coons. If true, that will mean Biden has sacrificed a critical opportunity to catalyze bold patent reform in the service of political patronage. Reports have indicated that Biden offered Coons, who expressed hope that coronavirus might be a “sword” for stronger IP protections, the power to decide the next USPTO Director as a consolation prize for not having been named Secretary of State.

July 07, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Department of Justice

Biden Labeled the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Decision a “Disappointment.” His Justice Department Failed to Oppose It.

Last Thursday, the Supreme Court dealt a near fatal blow to what remained of the Voting Right Act. Lawmakers, advocates, and commentators decried the decision, arguing that it will make challenging the wave of new voting restrictions emerging across the country much more difficult. In a statement, President Biden said that he was “deeply disappointed,” and concurred with Justice Elena Kagan’s assessment that the decision upholds “a significant race-based disparity in voting opportunities.”

June 30, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

FOIA Request

The Supreme Court Confirms, There Are More Trump Holdovers Left to Fire

With few exceptions, the Biden administration has not moved nearly as quickly to remove Trump holdovers as we had hoped he would. Most of the figures who we identified for immediate removal last November remained in office well past Biden’s day one and some are still there today (day 161). Happily, however, none of that foot-dragging was on display last week after a Supreme Court decision gave Biden the green light to remove Trump’s director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Mark Calabria. Within hours, Calabria was out and a new acting Director, Sandra Thompson, was in.

June 29, 2021 | Talking Points Memo

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Government Capacity

Biden’s New OPM Director May Be Among His Most Critical Appointees. Here’s Why.

It seems safe to assume that most people stopped paying attention to confirmation votes sometime around late spring (if not well before). And even those few who are still tuned in would be forgiven for missing the confirmation vote that directly preceded last week’s Senate showdown over the For the People Act. Despite its low-profile, however, that position — to lead the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) — may be among the most critical to the success of the Biden administration’s agenda.

June 22, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

The State of Independent Agency Nominations - Update for Spring 2021

Over 10 percent of Biden’s presidential term has passed. Yet, despite notable accomplishments on COVD-19 relief, the Biden administration is still far from having maximized its potential impact, particularly when it comes to executive branch power. Nowhere is that more evident than at independent federal agencies, where Biden’s agenda has barely even begun to take root. With 10 percent of his term gone, Democrats have secured a majority on just three new independent agency boards.

June 09, 2021

Andrea Beaty Eleanor Eagan Nika Hajikhodaverdikhan Sion Bell

Blog Post

Administrative LawDepartment of Justice

The Trump Administration Made a Mockery of the Law. Why Hasn't Biden Tossed its Cases?

Donald Trump and his Department of Justice consistently made a mockery of the law throughout his four years in power. And while their laughable reasoning and indefensible positions were struck down at a historic rate, many cases were still waiting for Biden. The new administration tossed out a handful immediately but an alarming number remain, either in some form of pause or advancing forward with the Biden administration adopting Trump’s position.

June 02, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Report

ClimateFederal ReserveFinancial RegulationIndependent Agencies

Working Paper: New Federal Reserve Governors Must Deploy All of the Institution’s Tools to Advance the Public Interest

Over the course of the next eight months, Biden will have the opportunity to reshape the Federal Reserve Board of Governors with nominations for up to four of its seven seats, including the positions of Vice Chair of Supervision, Vice Chair, and Chair (listed in the order they will become vacant). In choosing nominees for these posts, it will be essential that Biden consider the full weight of the Federal Reserve’s immense power and select individuals who are ready and willing to deploy every ounce of it to advance the public interest.

May 27, 2021 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan Elias Alsbergas

Op-Ed

Department of JusticeEthics in Government

Justice Department Shot Through With Corporate Influence

The U.S. government is involved in hundreds of court cases each year, most of which are not followed closely. But the baseline assumption is that the government is defending the public interest and holding criminals accountable, even when most aren’t watching. Unfortunately, in Merrick Garland’s Justice Department, that is not uniformly the case. Key acting officials, drawn from the halls of corporate power, are riddled with conflicts of interest that are already affecting their ability to protect the public. If the Justice Department is to serve all Americans rather than bolster individual fortunes and entrench corporate power, Merrick Garland must stop elevating corporate attorneys who have gotten rich fighting on corporate America’s behalf.

May 07, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

100 Days in Independent Agency Nominations

Biden has accomplished a great deal in his first 100 days in office. Millions have been vaccinated, relief measures have been passed to address ongoing economic pain, and important portions of Trump’s agenda have been reversed. Yet, despite the scale of these accomplishments, the Biden administration is still far from having maximized its potential impact, particularly when it comes to executive branch power.

April 29, 2021 | The New Republic

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionGovernment Capacity

Trump Holdovers Are Dragging Down the Biden Agenda

During his campaign, Joe Biden repeatedly held out the promise of an FDR-size presidency—the better to counter the misrule of the Trump administration. It can be said that he has already made some admirable strides in that direction with the passage of the American Rescue Plan. As Biden reaches his 100th day in office, however, he may soon find that comparisons to his self-identified North Star don’t quite measure up. Roosevelt, after all, famously signed 15 major bills into law during his first 100 days, compared to Biden’s one (which isn’t to diminish the size or importance of that single accomplishment). Biden and his allies can, of course, point to considerable obstacles that Roosevelt didn’t need to surmount, such as the Democratic Party’s slimmer margins and the fact that the president does not literally control Congress.

April 29, 2021 | Talking Points Memo

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/Transition

The Rules Dems Could Change To Keep The Tom Cottons Of The Senate From Delaying Biden Noms’ Confirmations

Forty. That’s how many of Joe Biden’s nominees the Senate will have likely confirmed when his presidency crosses the 100-day mark this Friday. On average, it took these nominees 49 days to move from nomination to confirmation. With over 1,100 seats throughout the executive branch left to fill (not to mention hundreds more in the Judiciary), that glacial pace should worry you. Unfortunately, it can get even slower. And thanks to Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), it looks like it’s about to.

April 09, 2021

Eleanor Eagan Timi Iwayemi

Blog Post

Department of CommerceIntellectual Property

Why You Should Care Who Leads the Patent and Trademark Office

As pressure mounts on the United States government to support waiving intellectual property (IP) protections on the COVID-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization, progressives are closely monitoring the Biden administration’s appointments to agencies that impact intellectual property matters such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).