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February 21, 2020 | The American Prospect

Max Moran

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign Finance

The Top Lawyer Bankrolling Democrats

The insidious influence of the wealthy over our politics, as Alexander Sammon wrote last month, is perhaps the defining issue of the 2020 Democratic primary. It’s the reason we at the Revolving Door Project have been yammering on about bundlers—the wealthy and well-connected volunteer fundraisers who almost inevitably end up receiving or influencing key jobs across the executive branch. Bundlers have driven the facile premise of both Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg’s campaigns: “I can’t be bought by the rich, because I am one of the rich who buys.” This was initially Donald Trump’s pitch, too. And the desire to reject the influence of bundlers raise hopes in Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’s campaigns, largely driven by small dollars and people power.

February 21, 2020

Andrea Beaty

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign Finance

Biden Corporate Loyalists Unite Around Super PAC

Andrea Beaty
Joe Biden’s campaign is hurting for cash and increasingly reliant on the pro- Biden super PAC, Unite the Country, for help. Unite the Country is spending big in early states — the super PAC threw over $5.5 million into Iowa and is now expanding into South Carolina. But the Unite the Country donors swooping in to save Biden’s messaging efforts build on the super PAC’s established base of corporate lobbyists and consultants. Unite the Country recently picked up new supporters from private equity, venture capital, real estate, and other sectors that may be looking for favorable policies or to influence strategic appointments.

February 19, 2020 | Truthout

Eleanor Eagan

Blog PostOp-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign Finance

As the Primary Race Heats Up, Candidates Forget Principled Campaign Finance Stands

At this time last year, newly declared Democratic primary candidates were racing to outdo each other with escalating promises to shun big money support. Contenders vowed not to take corporate PAC money, to reject lobbyists’ dollars, to discourage super PACs, and to tell fossil fuel executives, “no, thank you”. Now, however, many seem to be in a wholly different sort of race: to put the most distance between themselves and their prior principled stands.

February 06, 2020 | Democracy Journal

Jeff Hauser David Segal

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionRevolving Door

Personnel is Policy

We’ve become accustomed, watching the Democratic debates, to hearing the moderators focus on the practicability of candidates’ plans to move to Medicare for All, reform immigration policy, and fight gun violence. Make no mistake, these bills are important. They’re the type of policies a functional Congress would advance, and markers of a candidate’s vision for the country. But the media’s near-exclusive focus on these legislative proposals is deeply flawed.

January 31, 2020

Eleanor Eagan Max Moran

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign FinancePrivate EquityTech

Who Exactly Are Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg's Bundlers?

Eleanor Eagan | Max Moran

Beginning in the fall, the Revolving Door Project was one of a handful of voices drawing attention to Democratic primary candidates’ failure to release the names of their most important fundraisers. In op-eds, newsletters, and across other forums throughout the fall we repeatedly made the case that this consequential information could not stay hidden.

Why were we so insistent? A candidate’s list of top fundraisers, or bundlers, provides clearer insight than perhaps any other piece of campaign material into how a candidate would actually do the job of being president.

January 29, 2020

Andrea Beaty

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign Finance

Dem Prez Candidates Fundraising from Union-Busting Lawyers

Andrea Beaty

The Iron Workers Union endorsed Joe Biden last week, citing his dedication to “defend rights and jobs of American workers”, and calling him “a friend to union ironworkers”. The union endorsement marks one of many that Democratic candidates are fighting for by unveiling detailed labor plans and promising to overturn “right-to work laws” that weaken unions. While they seek union endorsements, several of the candidates are also seeking direct contributions from wealthy individuals. And therein lies a largely hidden tension.

January 27, 2020 | InsideSources

Max Moran

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign Finance

The Issue Dividing Democratic Candidates Is Hidden in Plain Sight

Takes came in hot and heavy last weekend after the New York Times editorial board endorsed both Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for the Democratic presidential nomination, mercifully ending the paper’s self-aggrandizing pseudo-event widely compared to … that’s right … “The Apprentice.”

The Times split its endorsement due to the intra-Democratic cleave between what it termed a “radical” path represented by Warren and a “pragmatic” path represented by Klobuchar.

January 06, 2020

Letter

2020 Election/Transition

Coalition Requests Moderators Ask About Executive Branch

To: CNN, The Des Moines Register, and the moderators of the January 14th Democratic debate
We, the undersigned organizations, urgently request that you ask each Democratic presidential candidate about how they would wield powers specific to the executive branch at the next debate on January 14th. In particular, we request that you ask about what qualifications each candidate will prioritize in making key nominations and appointments to the various departments and independent agencies that will fall under the next president’s purview. 

January 03, 2020 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign Finance

The Christmas Miracle: Biden’s Unexamined List of High-Powered Fundraisers

’Twas the Friday after Christmas, when all through the land, not a person was working, the computers unmanned. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while Joe Biden released the names of the wealthy and well-connected volunteers who are fundraising for his campaign.
These fundraisers, otherwise known as bundlers, have all brought in at least $25,000 for the campaign, although many have likely brought in sums an order of magnitude larger, or at least plan to throughout the course of the campaign.

December 09, 2019

Letter

2020 Election/Transition

Coalition Requests Moderators Ask About Executive Branch

To: Judy Woodruff, Tim Alberta, Amna Nawaz, Yamiche Alcindor, PBS NewsHour, Politico, and the organizers of the December 19th Democratic debate
We, the undersigned organizations, urgently request that you ask each Democratic presidential candidate about how they would wield powers specific to the executive branch at the next debate on December 19th. In particular, we request that you ask about what qualifications each candidate will prioritize in making key nominations and appointments to the various departments and independent agencies that will fall under the next president’s purview.  In prior debates, the presidential candidates have enjoyed the opportunity to propose their ideal legislative fixes for several issues. However, while presidents often help guide their party’s legislative efforts, it is their ultimate duty to veto or sign the laws that Congress passes, and then to execute the laws of the land.

December 04, 2019 | The American Prospect

Max Moran

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionAnti-MonopolyRevolving Door

Bloomberg News’ Curious Interpretation of Editorial Independence

Bloomberg News raised some eyebrows in the media world last week when reports leaked that it won’t investigate former New York mayor and Wall Street darling Michael Bloomberg as he (groan) runs for president. The news outlet also decided to refrain from investigating any other Democrats running, to maintain a level playing field, and added that the opinion page would publish no outside op-eds on the election as long as its owner remained a candidate.

November 15, 2019

Letter

2020 Election/Transition

Coalition Requests Moderators Ask About Executive Branch

To: Moderators Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, Kristen Welker, Ashley Parker, MSNBC, and The Washington Post
We, the undersigned organizations, urgently request that you ask each Democratic presidential candidate about how they would wield powers specific to the executive branch at the next debate on November 20th. In particular, we request that you ask about what qualifications each candidate will prioritize in making key nominations and appointments to the various departments and independent agencies that will fall under the next president’s purview. 

October 03, 2019 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign Finance

The DNC’s Debate Gambit Prevents Donor Accountability

Late last week, the Democratic National Committee announced that it would hold only one October debate (on the 15th, rather than the 15th and 16th), packing the 12 qualifying candidates onto a single stage. As others have highlighted, the overcrowding will likely mean even less substance and more quibbling. There is, however, another important and overlooked consequence of the DNC’s decision: The single debate will slip in hours before the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) third-quarter fundraising filing deadline, delivering an undeserved blessing to candidates who don’t wish to answer questions about their unsavory fundraising ties.

August 29, 2019 | The Daily Beast

Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionIndependent Agencies

2020 Dems Must Use Trump’s Incompetence Against Him

We tend to forget this as we watch the daily madness of the Trump presidency, but a president’s principal role is to run the executive branch. Above all, that consists of appointing personnel to thousands of roles across the administration and laying out a vision that inspires and drives that army of appointees towards common ends.

Thus, when Donald Trump assails Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell (his own pick) as incompetent and/or malevolent in executing his critical role in helping manage the United States economy, he is unquestionably attacking his own judgment and fitness for office.