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December 07, 2021
Today, the Revolving Door Project issued Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for records reflecting any ethics advice given to any Senate-confirmed Department of Justice (DOJ) officials. The Project also requested any ethics advice given to Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General Anita Singh, whose husband is a member of Google’s antitrust defense team at law firm Vinson & Elkins. The Project is interested in which potential conflicts of interest do or don’t trigger ethics concerns within the Department, particularly as Big Tech companies engage in a cynical and specious campaign to use ethics rules to tie the hands of antitrust enforcers.
November 17, 2021
Congressional selfies and self-congratulations inaugurated the week, but a lot of hard work remains to translate the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s (IIJA) policies into real-life results. Given that those policies are (generously) middling and that the most promising ones are underfunded, turning these into winning programs will demand energy, creativity, competence, and a strong commitment to the public interest.
November 05, 2021 | The American Prospect
With his legislative climate agenda hanging in the balance, President Biden turned to executive action this week in his attempt to “assert American leadership” at COP26 in Glasgow. On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced sweeping new rules to curb methane emissions. Those standards, which the agency estimates would eliminate a greater volume of emissions between 2023 and 2035 than those emitted from all U.S. passenger cars and commercial planes in 2019, were rightly applauded. For now, however, these are just estimates. Ensuring that they turn into real-life emissions reductions that meet or exceed expectations will require that agencies have the capacity to promptly write strong new rules and, then, enforce them.
November 02, 2021
It has been over nine months since President Donald Trump left office, but on climate policy the federal government continues to show the scars from his disastrous presidency. At a moment when we do not have even a second to waste to avoid catastrophic climate change, agencies are struggling to build back better after attacks on scientific integrity and agency budgets left them without sufficient staff capacity and expertise. While the Biden administration has consistently affirmed its support for the federal workforce through rhetoric and action, New York Times reporting from this summer makes clear that the rebuilding is still not happening fast enough.
November 02, 2021
This administration has consistently affirmed its commitment to rebuilding the federal workforce. But with only 98 months left until 2030, at which point we will need to have cut U.S. emissions in half to avoid climate catastrophe, it should be clear that there’s no time to waste turning words to action.
October 29, 2021
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.
October 28, 2021
President Biden is nearing a decision on a Federal Reserve Chair nomination, but the Revolving Door Project’s work will not end with the conclusion of the reappointment fight.
October 20, 2021 | The American Prospect
It was never a secret that Attorney General Merrick Garland was among the key Biden administration figures opposing Jonathan Kanter’s nomination as assistant attorney general for antitrust. Ultimately, however, Garland did not get his way; the appointment went to Kanter rather than to one of the many Big Tech–allied BigLaw partners whom Garland favored. In view of Kanter’s career as a plaintiff’s lawyer, his nomination was rightly celebrated as a decisive victory by antitrust reformers and BigLaw opponents alike. But it was just one battle in a broader war for renewed anti-monopoly enforcement and a DOJ eager to build back better in every policy area.
October 18, 2021 | The Hill
Biden’s agenda are falling victim to arcane Senate rules, and not just the filibuster. Dysfunction is slowing the Senate confirmation process to a crawl too, producing a backlog hundreds of nominees deep. For as long as these delays keep permanent officials out of their intended roles, they will limit the scope and ambition of the Biden administration’s agenda. Senate Democrats must act to change them.
October 15, 2021 | Talking Points Memo
Facebook continues to lie to the public with abandon. That is one of the main takeaways from the Facebook whistleblower’s testimony last week. Even now, having been called out, Facebook is frantically working to obscure and underplay its own dishonesty.
October 07, 2021
The Revolving Door Project makes a point of watching independent agencies, those oft-overlooked entities, closely. As a result, we’ve had reason to give a great deal of thought to the purpose and meaning of “independence” in the agency context. As “independence” is invoked as a shield in other settings, that thinking may prove instructive.
September 17, 2021
Since the start of the year, we have warned that failure to promptly fill vacant and expired seats on independent agency boards would undermine the Biden administration’s agenda across many issue areas. Now, as executive branch policymaking kicks into high gear across this administration, we are seeing examples of this warning becoming a reality.
September 01, 2021 | The New Republic
In a move cheered by progressives and antitrust reformers, President Biden has nominated Jonathan Kanter to serve as assistant attorney general for antitrust. Kanter’s nomination, alongside that of Lina Khan to lead the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year, is the latest sign that this administration is, for the first time in generations, fiercely committed to enforcing antitrust laws. However, this generation’s most notorious monopolies—Amazon, Facebook, and Google—are making it vividly clear that they will try anything to retain their power. That apparently includes lobbing poorly reasoned, transparently bad faith calls for their newly anointed foes to recuse themselves from relevant cases.
August 30, 2021
In the past week, the Supreme Court decided to embrace its most evil tendencies, first by stating that Biden could not end Trump’s horrendous “Remain in Mexico” policy, then by clearing the way for millions to be evicted. It issued both these consequential rulings on the “shadow docket,” without even granting a fair hearing. The cruelty is breathtaking but hardly surprising. Ultimately, it underscores what we’ve always known: Biden’s agenda will face an uphill battle in the courts.
August 18, 2021
The U.S. Court of Appeals is set to rule on the Biden Administration’s eviction moratorium sometime this week. No matter how it decides, however, it is already clear that those who argued against a new moratorium were wrong. A Trump judge has acknowledged that she must, begrudgingly, sustain it for now. By fighting, rather than preemptively surrendering, the administration has ensured that millions of Americans can stay in their homes for weeks longer. That is undoubtedly worth any embarrassment that government lawyers may feel from potentially eventually losing a case.