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August 02, 2021 | The Forge
One year ago, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd sparked an international rebellion against police violence. From this historic uprising, a longtime demand from the Black Lives Matter movement to end mass incarceration and police violence by defunding the police became a part of mainstream discourse. Local campaigns like #defundNYPD and national studies like Freedom to Thrive: Reimagining Safety and Security in Our Communities have fleshed out the meaning of defund, envisioning municipal and state budgets that invest in social safety nets over criminalization. But the executive branch ― the branch of government that creates the rules and regulations that guide the execution of federal law ― remains under-examined as a lever to effect systemic change.
April 14, 2021
As police terror continues to claim the lives of Black Minnesotans, Biden must use all the tools at his disposal to root out police misconduct and deliver on his campaign promises of racial justice. U.S. Attorneys, the local face of the Department of Justice, will be an important institution to leverage. But the remains of Trump’s influence on these offices through acting officials and assistants could thwart the administration’s goals.
March 22, 2021 | TruthOut
With Haaland at its head, the DOI will have a real chance to reverse its role in exacerbating climate change and environmental racism. Yet, in order to fully realize this potential, the agency will need more funding, increased lower-level staff and much more diversity.
March 05, 2021 | The American Prospect
De-Trumpifying all levels of the Department of Justice (DOJ) remains a critical factor in Joe Biden’s success. He needs an energized and progressive pool of U.S. attorneys committed to criminal justice reform, prosecuting white-collar crime, and protecting the environment to do that.
February 12, 2021 | Talking Points Memo
In the Reconstruction era following the Civil War, the Department of Justice was created in part to deliver and oversee equal rights to formerly enslaved Black men and women. This corrective institution was a major step toward building a federal government that protects the civil rights of all its citizens. In the wrong hands, however, the department can be weaponized. Whether through inaction or outright hostility on issues ranging from white-collar crime to mass incarceration, the values animating the nation’s top law enforcement agency matter.
January 12, 2021
From the moment President Trump took office, he has been on a warpath with the civil service. He and his associates have waged an open war (and likely one behind closed doors as well) to seize control over federal employees just out of reach of easy firing. In October, as his presidency appeared rapidly to be approaching its end, he lobbed a bomb at the civil service system.
January 12, 2021
Over four years, the Trump administration pushed an already fragile government to the breaking point. Budget cuts, record civil service attrition and outright corruption (to name just a few) imperiled the most basic functions of the federal government to near collapse.
December 23, 2020 | The Daily Beast
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 21, 2020
Biden has long marketed himself as the unity candidate who could appeal to large swaths of the American electorate. So his selection of his old friend Tom Vilsack as USDA Secretary, whose only unifying characteristic is the disdain he has received from a broad coalition of advocacy groups, is perplexing to say the least.
November 20, 2020 | The American Prospect
Joe Biden Must Not Look for Unity in Mitch McConnell’s Obstruction
Last week, Mitch McConnell chose to fan the flames of baseless electoral conspiracy rather than acknowledge Joe Biden’s indisputable victory. Meanwhile, prominent Democrats took to the airwaves to insist that working with McConnell would not be nearly as hard as people claimed. This is dangerous, wishful thinking.
October 23, 2020 | Public Seminar
Donald Trump Politicized the Federal Bureaucracy: The Next President Needs to Reverse That
In an effort to mitigate the political damage from failing to contain the virus and manage its corollary crises, the White House recently mandated that the Department of Agriculture include a signed letter from Donald Trump inside food boxes, claiming credit for the federal program providing food to families in need. The move effectively politicized the taxpayer funded program as a tool of the president’s own self-promotion just a month before the election. Even worse, the department’s inclusion of the letter has jeopardized the program’s operation, as distribution sites fear they will be improperly engaging in political activity.
August 10, 2020 | Talking Points Memo
The Same Racist Rhetoric Used To Oppose D.C. Statehood Keeps The Federal Government Dysfunctional
Conservatives like Cotton have long villainized African-American pathways to the middle class that include government employment. In a conservative worldview that sees the U.S. government as by and for white people, Black employment in the public sector becomes a target for the GOP and federal jobs become fodder for racist “dog whistle” politics.
August 10, 2020
Why Hasn’t The Trump Administration Released Their Organizational Chart For The Office of Management and Budget?
In more normal times, it was routine to expect administrations to publish the organizational charts of their executive branch agencies. These charts offer transparency, giving the public a glimpse into the inner workings of the complex world of each executive branch agency. These charts also allow the public to understand how governance works and potentially identify which departments require more oversight.
July 24, 2020
Cabinet Oversight Tracker
For each member of Trump’s Cabinet, the Cabinet Oversight Tracker records the date on which they last testified before their House committee of jurisdiction, the total number of times they’ve testified before that committee since January 2019 and the number of days they have gone without testifying.