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May 01, 2019

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

April Update on the State of Independent Federal Agencies

Eleanor Eagan
The federal government’s forty independent federal agencies receive too little attention relative to their importance to our collective safety and prosperity. The Revolving Door Project has worked through multiple channels to shed light on these overlooked agencies and the threats that they face. We hope public education will generate pressure to safeguard the independence of these agencies and ensure that they are staffed with advocates for the public interest rather than corporate insiders. 

April 25, 2019

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCongressional Oversight

Bold Calls to #taxtherich, But Not Enough Talk of Enforcement

Eleanor Eagan
Earlier this year, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made waves when she used her appearance on 60 Minutes to call for a 70 percent marginal tax rate on incomes over $10 million. The mainstream media establishment was further blown away when polls in the following days showed that this radical proposal was wildly popular. To anyone who had been paying attention, this was hardly a shocking revelation; Americans have long supported raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Nonetheless, the renewed focus on proposals to tax the rich opens the door for a long overdue conversation about biases in our tax system and how to change them.

April 24, 2019 | Washington Monthly

Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Congressional Oversight

House Democrats Are Failing to Investigate the White House

The Mueller report is a chronicle of corruption. It outlines attempted collusion between Trump’s closest advisors, including his son and campaign chairman, and the Russian government. It shows that Trump routinely lied about his actions and asked those around him to lie on his behalf. It details a president who told his subordinates to end the entire investigation. The report is especially astonishing given that it didn’t even touch on Trump’s many other potential crimes. From his brazen violations of the Emoluments Clause to his decision to steal emergency funds for his border wall, Trump has been a threat to the rule of law since the moment he was inaugurated.

April 04, 2019 | BuzzFeed News

Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/Transition

Mayor Pete Understands Norwegian. Does He Understand The Presidency?

In a matter of weeks Pete Buttigieg rose from relative obscurity to national prominence. A successful CNN town hall in early March launched him into the 2020 conversation, and an impressive first quarter fundraising haul made clear he is a serious candidate. His youth, charisma, and dizzying ascent have some thinking he’s a top contender to inherit Barack Obama’s mantle.

We worry that Jimmy Carter might be the more apt comparison.

March 28, 2019

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

The Overlooked Executive Branch Scandal of the Trump Era -- Independent Agencies

Eleanor Eagan
The federal government’s forty independent federal agencies receive too little attention relative to their importance to our collective safety and prosperity. The Revolving Door Project has worked through multiple channels to shed light on these overlooked agencies and the threats that they face. We hope public education will generate pressure to safeguard the independence of these agencies and ensure that they are staffed with advocates for the public interest rather than corporate insiders. 

March 20, 2019

Eleanor Eagan

Blog PostFOIA Request

ClimateFinancial RegulationRevolving Door

RDP Requests Record of Contracts between BlackRock and Key Federal Agencies

Eleanor Eagan
With just under $6 trillion in assets under management (as of year-end 2018) BlackRock is the largest money manager in the world. Virtually unheard of only a decade ago, it has now grown into one of the most powerful forces in financial markets and politics alike. Central to this ascendance was its risk management software, Aladdin. Aladdin — an acronym for Asset Liability and Debt and Derivative Investment Network — has become the “industry’s dominant platform for keeping track of portfolios.” It counts among its clients approximately 200 financial firms who use the software to manage approximately $18 trillion in assets.

March 13, 2019 | The American Prospect

Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Congressional Oversight

Richie Neal and Trump’s Taxes

As most House Democrats enthusiastically jump on the long-dormant congressional oversight train, one senior lawmaker has conspicuously chosen to stay on the platform. Under the leadership of Representative Richard Neal, the House Committee on Ways and Means has shown none of the zeal for oversight exhibited by its counterparts.

March 01, 2019

Eleanor Eagan Jeff Hauser

Blog Post

Congressional Oversight

NY State Lawmakers Show How We Can Advance Reform in Face of Federal Gridlock

As federal policymakers shrink away from their campaign promises to request President Trump’s tax returns, state lawmakers are stepping up to take their place. On January 24, the New Jersey Senate passed a bill that would bar presidential and vice-presidential candidates from appearing on the ballot unless they released five years of federal tax returns. Meanwhile, there is growing momentum in New York for the TRUTH ACT, a bill which would require state tax authorities to release tax returns for any officials elected statewide, from State Comptroller and Attorney General up the ranks through to the President of the United States. That bill now has 78 cosponsors in the NY State Assembly (a majority) and 28 in the State Senate (four shy of a majority). If passed, New York state tax authorities will be required to release Trump’s tax records within 30 days. Those records would not just include income earned in New York state but worldwide income as well.

February 26, 2019 | The American Prospect

Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionClimateRevolving Door

BlackRock’s ‘Greenwashing’ Threatens to Undermine Climate Action

Fake environmentalism is an especially rampant and worrisome form of corporate propaganda—indeed, there is even a specific term for it. Scientific American defined the “essence” of “greenwashing” as efforts “falsely conveying to consumers that a given product, service, company or institution factors environmental responsibility into its offerings and/or operations.” If you want an idea of how empty these promises tend to be, consider that Donald Trump once signed a “Business Leaders” letter in The New York Times urging then-President Obama to aggressively push for climate action at the 2009 Copenhagen talks.

February 09, 2019 | The Daily Beast

Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionRevolving Door

‘Middle Class Joe’ Biden Courts Wall Street Oligarch, BlackRock’s Larry Fink

Ever since Donald Trump secured the presidency in 2016, there have been those who have argued that Joe Biden is the Democrats’ only chance at victory in 2020. Why? He plays well with working- and middle-class voters who might otherwise vote for Trump. While many question the merits of this assessment, it appears that at least one important figure has embraced this interpretation: “Middle Class Joe” Biden (his nickname, he assures us).

January 29, 2019

Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Congressional OversightFinancial Regulation

How the Trump Team Might Make Some Hedge Funds Solvent Again

Eleanor Eagan and Jeff Hauser
Immediately following President Trump’s election, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s future generated renewed and robust interest. The Government Sponsored Entities’ (GSE) shares rallied on expectations that the Trump administration would take both entities out of conservatorship in a manner that rewarded all shareholders, including hedge-fund speculators. In the intervening two years, however, those expectations faded and shares in the GSEs underwent a slow decline.

January 28, 2019

Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Congressional Oversight

Richard Neal Doth Protest Too Much

Jeff Hauser and Eleanor Eagan
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) has been criticized by many, including us, for his failure to pursue Trump’s tax returns in a timely manner. In an article in the Berkshire Eagle with the friendly title, “Neal lays groundwork on push for Trump tax returns,” Neal gave his constituents his side of the story.

Below, we annotate Neal’s claims.

January 16, 2019

Eleanor Eagan Jeff Hauser

Blog Post

Congressional OversightEthics in GovernmentFinancial Regulation

One Trump Appointee, Two Jobs, Too Many Causes for Concern

Eleanor Eagan, Jeff Hauser, and Adewale Maye
You have likely not heard of Joseph Otting, as he has generated comparatively little attention amidst the circus that is President Trump’s executive branch. However, he is a deeply problematic official who has quietly amassed power in critical agencies that receive far too little attention given their impact on the economy and housing. Amazingly, Otting seems to be using these agencies to act upon resentments he developed as a “controversial,” at best, banking executive, making him a perfect representative of why we are concerned by the revolving door problem in our federal government.