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April 25, 2022

Dorothy Slater

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateEthics in GovernmentExecutive BranchRevolving Door

What You Need To Know About The Contenders For Biden’s Next Chief Of Staff

Nearly halfway through President Biden’s second year in office, with midterms on the horizon and senior staff either burning out or eager to sell out, “Transition 2.0” — the rapid departure of said senior staff with an influx of new personnel — is growing closer. One position we’re keeping a close eye on is Biden’s next Chief of Staff. Currently filled by Ron Klain, this is Biden’s de facto power broker. He helps the president make decisions and acts as a gatekeeper for the many, MANY forces, good and bad, who’d like to influence the president.

April 14, 2022

Eleanor Eagan Timi Iwayemi

Blog Post

cryptocurrencyEthics in GovernmentFederal ReserveFinancial RegulationFintechRevolving Door

Michael Barr is the Wrong Man to Stop the Next Financial Crisis

Over a decade after the financial crisis, few would still dispute that the revolving door between financial regulators and the financial industry helped pave the way for economic disaster. In the years preceding the crash, regulators who came from the country’s largest banks and planned to promptly return to them, removed regulatory restraints and turned a blind eye to the predictably dangerous effects (see, e.g. Robert Rubin and Alan Greenspan). In the next administration, different regulators drawn from the same well let the fraudsters off the hook and left the working people who had fallen victim to them out to dry.  

April 12, 2022 | The American Prospect

Timi Iwayemi Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

cryptocurrencyEthics in GovernmentFinancial RegulationRevolving Door

Biden Must Block Crypto’s Access to the Revolving Door

Fortunately, Biden has the means to stop at least one aspect of crypto’s campaign in its tracks. Through an executive order, he can cut off crypto’s access to the revolving door by barring the officials who are involved in developing regulations for the digital assets industry from working for it for at least four years. By rights, it should be a bare-minimum anti-corruption standard.

April 06, 2022

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Ethics in GovernmentFederal Reserve

Congress Should Heed the Lessons from the Federal Reserve's Ethics Scandals

After a stream of stories throughout the pandemic revealed seemingly rampant congressional insider trading, laughable disclosure practices, and nonexistent enforcement, Congress appears finally to be feeling the pressure to clean up its act. In recent weeks, lawmakers have introduced a flurry of new bills to limit conflicts of interest and help restore public trust in our governing institutions.

As they begin to forge a piece of consensus legislation, they should consider that members of Congress were not the only political leaders to violate public trust throughout the pandemic period. The trading scandals within the Federal Reserve system, for example, revealed material ethical deficiencies that have yet to be satisfactorily addressed. It’s important to recognize that these deficiencies are not unique to the Federal Reserve and that they represent an ongoing threat to public trust in other powerful corners of the executive branch as well. To rebuild that trust in government, lawmakers must learn the lessons of the Federal Reserve scandals and develop fixes for these deficiencies there and elsewhere.

March 31, 2022

Letter

Anti-MonopolyEthics in Government

Letter to the Center for Judicial Ethics on Big Tech Creating Expert Conflicts of Interest

We are a diverse coalition of advocacy organizations with a strong interest in the fair and neutral application of the law by courts. We write to express our concern about the growing problem of bias and conflicts of interest that arise from Big Tech funding the careers of the legal experts that judges draw on to understand the law and support their decisions. We ask that the Center for Judicial Ethics assist judges to avoid citing to experts and academics with obvious conflicts of interest as they adjudicate the many cases regarding the Big Tech platforms. We further ask that you encourage judges to require comprehensive disclosure by experts hired by Big Tech platforms.

March 28, 2022

Mekedas Belayneh

Blog Post

Anti-MonopolyDepartment of JusticeEthics in GovernmentExecutive BranchTech

The DOJ Should Follow Its Own Guidance on FOIA Administration

The celebration of Sunshine Week earlier this month underscored the importance of the continued effort to ensure effective administration of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and its central role for open democracy. Passed by Congress in 1966, FOIA allows citizens to request unpublished records and information from the federal government. Watchdog organizations have long relied on records obtained from FOIA requests to hold the government accountable to public interests. But, the system comes with a plethora of flaws that prevents adequate timeliness and transparency. Endless backlogs, increased usage of exemptions, partially redacted documents, and outright denials leave much to be desired in the administration of FOIA today.

March 15, 2022 | The American Prospect

Hannah Story Brown

Op-Ed

ClimateCorporate CrackdownDepartment of JusticeEthics in GovernmentExecutive BranchIndependent Agencies

Where the Government’s Environmental Lawyers Stand

Joe Biden pledged that as president he would hold polluters accountable. But in 2021, the number of criminal cases against polluters referred to the Justice Department dropped even lower than the year before. At best, DOJ officials have set their sights on bringing environmental crime enforcement back up to Obama-era levels—but not exceeding them. That’s a decidedly muted goal; environmental crimes enforcement was higher under George W. Bush than Obama, and has always been underfunded.