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March 16, 2021

Dorothy Slater Eleanor Eagan Max Moran

Blog Post

ClimateFinancial RegulationIndependent Agencies

FSOC 101: How Each Member Of The Financial Stability Oversight Council Can Fight Climate Change

Title 1 of the Dodd-Frank Act Title established the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) just over a decade ago. Prior to its arrival, there was no cross-agency government body tasked with protecting the financial system from systemic risks. FSOC was created to avoid repeating the mistakes of the 2008 financial crisis and to be a safeguard against financial practices with the potential to wreak global havoc.

March 10, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateEthics in Government

Biden Ethics Pledge Alone Will Not Insulate the Administration from Conflicts of Interest

On President Biden’s first day in office, he made clear that, after the Trump administration’s fantastically corrupt reign, restoring trust in the federal government’s senior leadership would be a priority. His executive order on ethics, signed within hours of his inauguration, went further than any other towards slowing the revolving door and limiting conflicts of interest while in office. Subsequent appointments make clear, however, that these elevated standards are still not enough. Simply following the letter of the order will leave significant room for conflicts of interest to poison the administration’s actions and public trust.

March 05, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

The State of Independent Agency Nominations - Update for March 2021

It has been over a month since President Joe Biden assumed the presidency. So far, thirteen of his Cabinet picks have received Senate confirmation, while the remaining ten who will require it wend their way through the process. In the meantime, the administration continues to announce names for the nearly 4000 other positions it will need to fill. With only a few exceptions, however, picks for one class of appointment — to independent agency boards — have not yet been forthcoming. The Biden administration undoubtedly faces many competing priorities, but these nominations must rise to the top.

February 19, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionIndependent Agencies

Senate Must Clear Obstacles and Avoid False Tradeoffs

On January 20, Joe Biden was sworn in as the country’s 46th President. It will be months, even years, however, before all of the accompanying members of his administration are in place. With over 4000 positions to fill, the vetting and selection process necessary to stand up a new administration is formidable. Add to that the lengthy road to Senate confirmation for over 1000 of those picks and you have a recipe for dysfunction.

February 11, 2021 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Financial RegulationIndependent Agencies

The Trump Holdovers Biden Still Needs to Fire

Throughout several decades in the Senate, Joe Biden earned a reputation as an institutionalist. Extraordinary circumstances, however, are pushing the new president to cast aside many of his beloved norms when they fail to account for these exceptional times. In just a few short weeks, Biden has removed officials whose predecessors had never before been fired. And faced with predictable Republican obstruction on his signature pandemic response bill, he’s eschewed endless waiting for compromise in favor of budget reconciliation.

February 05, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

The State of Independent Agency Nominations - Update for February 2021

It has been just over two weeks since President Joe Biden assumed the presidency. So far, six of his Cabinet picks have received Senate confirmation while the remaining 17 who will require it wend their way through the process. In the meantime, the administration continues to announce names for the nearly 4000 other positions it will need to fill. With only one exception, however, picks for one class of appointment — to independent agency boards — have not yet been forthcoming. The Biden administration undoubtedly faces many competing priorities but these nominations must rise to the top.

January 22, 2021 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionIndependent Agencies

The Chopra Gambit

On Monday, President Biden announced his intention to name Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s next director, earning a rare, unqualified cheer from the party’s left flank. Despite serving in the minority on the FTC, Chopra has managed to have a ground-shaking impact, earning a reputation for skillful and creative maneuvering. It is encouraging to see his dogged work for the public interest rewarded and the CFPB land in such capable hands. Just elevating Chopra, however, is not enough. If Democrats are serious about good governance and building their party’s power, they must look to the institutional features that provided Chopra with a platform and honed his governing skills so that, moving forward, he is not such a lonely figure.

January 19, 2021 | Slate

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Congressional OversightGovernment Capacity

Trump Has Quietly Hollowed Out the Government

Over four years, federal workers were ignored, subjected to retaliation, and fired for articulating politically inconvenient truths or standing in the way of President Donald Trump’s attacks against the public. By all accounts, that is set to change under President-elect Joe Biden. But while new attacks may not be forthcoming, the fissures from old ones will remain, threatening the federal government’s structural integrity unless the next administration and Congress take action. For all that we know about Trump’s assaults on the federal workforce, there is likely more that remains hidden. Up to this point, Democratic leadership has failed to make combating or uncovering these incursions a priority. For the sake of the Biden administration’s success, that will need to change.

December 23, 2020 | The Daily Beast

Eleanor Eagan Mariama Eversley

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionEthics in Government

Biden Team’s Looming NatSec Conflicts Spell Trouble

In January of 1961, President Eisenhower warned the nation of the union between the mushrooming arms industry and the Department of Defense. The military-industrial complex, as he put it, would imperil democracy and put the defense industry in the driver’s seat of the nation’s foreign and domestic policy. And now, Joe Biden, with his early foreign policy and defense picks, has made some choices that are emblematic of a conflict of interest-laden status quo for which there is no constituency (at least not one that isn’t on the payroll).

December 11, 2020 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionIndependent Agencies

Mitch McConnell’s Sudden Interest in Independent Agencies

It’s December, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is still dodging calls to explicitly acknowledge that President Trump lost the election. It’s clear, however, that he knows who the next president will be. True to form, he’s working hard to undermine Joe Biden by confirming Trump’s nominees to independent agencies in the final days. This could shut down Biden’s ability to influence critical agencies’ composition for months, if not years, with severe consequences for regulatory enforcement and new rulemaking.

December 04, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

November 2020 Update on the State of Independent Federal Agencies

Over the past several years, President Trump’s assault on governing norms, from his refusal to reveal information about his finances to his glee in firing those who are not sufficiently loyal to him, has sparked public outcry. One set of norm violations, however, has received relatively little attention from the media or from Senate Democrats. Quietly Trump and Mitch McConnell have undermined independent agencies’ functionality by slow-walking minority party nominations. And, in particular, they have undermined the norm of statutorily-mandated political balance on many independent agency boards in a move that could keep regulatory power in Republican hands for years after Trump leaves office.

December 04, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionIndependent Agencies

Why Wasn't this Vote a Priority for Kamala Harris?

With scant days remaining in this Congress, Senate Republicans are busily working to undermine the incoming Biden administration by rushing to confirm Trump’s nominees to terms that will last well beyond January 20, 2021. Yesterday, in a close 48 to 47 vote, they installed Christopher Waller to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in a term that will not expire until 2030, robbing Biden of the seat. With Mike Pence and his potential tie-breaking vote out of town, Kamala Harris (in her capacity as a Senator) had the power to delay, if not stop it.