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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.

July 30, 2019 | BuzzFeed News

Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan Max Moran

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign FinanceRevolving DoorTech

Mayor Pete Is Silicon Valley's Hottest New Startup

You might think Big Tech is facing an existential reckoning in Washington, based on recent congressional hearings with Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google. Add in Facebook’s $5 billion Federal Trade Commission settlement and the Trump administration pursuing antitrust inquiries into Big Tech while “looking into” Peter Thiel’s accusation that Google has been treasonously collaborating with China and it begins to sound consequential.

But if you look elsewhere — to the fundraising totals released by presidential candidates this month, and perhaps even to this week’s presidential debates — you can glimpse the seeds of the industry’s political revival.

June 26, 2019

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

2020 Election/Transition

How Well Do Leading 2020 Candidates Understand the Executive Branch?

Eleanor Eagan
It is one of the many peculiarities of American politics that legislative laundry lists dominate presidential campaigns even though presidents have little power to get these promises enacted. That is not to say that these aspirational assertions do not matter. As a statement of values, they can mobilize support.  But while legislation is subject to the considerable influence of, well, the legislature,how a candidate intends to do the job for which they are running (i.e. managing the executive branch) is something for which they can be held directly accountable. And yet candidates tend to be much less forthcoming with their vision for actually running the federal government. That silence reduces presidential accountability to the public for how they wield the powers of the executive. 

June 25, 2019 | The American Prospect

Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign Finance

Do Pete Buttigieg’s Donors Know Him Better Than We Do?

In a field of 24 candidates, Democratic presidential hopefuls must attempt to stand out from the crowd, and Pete Buttigieg is no different. He foregrounds his personal story, relative youth, and roots in the country’s geographic center to pitch voters on a generational departure. “Such a moment calls for hopeful and audacious voices from communities like ours,” Buttigieg said in his announcement speech. “And yes, it calls for a new generation of leadership.”

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 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.

April 01, 2019 | InsideSources 

Jeff Hauser

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionAnti-Monopoly

Warren’s American Plan to Rein in Tech Monopolists

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s technology platform reflects a common sense populist rejoinder to the failed bipartisan antitrust consensus. If big corporations elbow the little guy, there is probably a rational reason for their corporate violence and it probably isn’t to benefit consumers or the broader economy. (Unless, of course, you like having your data stolen and traded like a commodity, believe start-ups should have no aspiration other than to be absorbed by a bigger company, or think small business is un-American and passe.)

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.