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June 09, 2021

Elias Alsbergas

Blog Post

Department of JusticeEthics in Government

One Shockingly Easy Step For Government Transparency: Staff Pages

Anyone who’s ever filed a Freedom of Information Act request can tell you that the federal bureaucracy is shockingly opaque despite. This has real consequences for the public’s understanding of what their government actually does every day. Almost all public records requests require watchdogs to specifically identify documents and personnel they are interested in, often without knowing if those documents even exist or if those personnel even still work for the government. This poses a conundrum, however: how can watchdogs know what or whose records to request if they don’t even know who works in a department?

May 27, 2021 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan Elias Alsbergas

Op-Ed

Department of JusticeEthics in Government

Justice Department Shot Through With Corporate Influence

The U.S. government is involved in hundreds of court cases each year, most of which are not followed closely. But the baseline assumption is that the government is defending the public interest and holding criminals accountable, even when most aren’t watching. Unfortunately, in Merrick Garland’s Justice Department, that is not uniformly the case. Key acting officials, drawn from the halls of corporate power, are riddled with conflicts of interest that are already affecting their ability to protect the public. If the Justice Department is to serve all Americans rather than bolster individual fortunes and entrench corporate power, Merrick Garland must stop elevating corporate attorneys who have gotten rich fighting on corporate America’s behalf.

May 13, 2021 | The American Prospect

Max Moran Dorothy Slater Zena Wolf

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionClimateEthics in GovernmentFinancial Regulation

Plumbing The Depths At The SEC

Progressives have generally seen Gary Gensler, the newly confirmed chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as a loyal advocate for the public interest. His tenure at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) was one of the few bright spots in Barack Obama’s financial regulatory regime. But in April, Gensler named Alex Oh to be his director of enforcement, before she resigned a week later amid negative media attention. Before joining the SEC, Oh had directly facilitated an ExxonMobil executive’s obstinate deposition testimony (reportedly read off an attorney-drafted script) in the face of plaintiff objections—and the case itself centered on accusations of torture, rape, and murder by ExxonMobil-hired guards in an Indonesian village.

April 22, 2021

Elias Alsbergas

Blog Post

Ethics in GovernmentExecutive BranchFinancial RegulationTreasury Department

Delaware Connections Run Deep As DuPont Family's Darla Pomeroy Heads To Treasury

Darla Pomeroy, who is married to an heir to the DuPont family fortune, was just named Senior Advisor to the Office of Domestic Finance at the US Treasury. While her record does not show any familiarity with financial regulatory policy, it reveals instead a history of a powerful corporation highly influential in Delaware placing a close ally in the administration.

April 08, 2021

Vishal Shankar

Blog Post

CabinetDepartment of JusticeEthics in GovernmentExecutive BranchRevolving DoorRight-Wing MediaTreasury Department

Biden Cabinet Confirmations Show Continued Political Potency Of Revolving Door Critiques

The prolonged confirmation fights for top Biden nominees proved one thing: Republicans will gleefully and cynically exploit anti-corruption critiques of Biden’s Cabinet for their own political purposes. The President must deny them this potent political weapon by closing corporate America’s revolving door for good.

March 29, 2021 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan Elias Alsbergas

Op-Ed

Ethics in GovernmentExecutive BranchRevolving Door

Toward a Conflict-of-Interest-Free West Wing

The latest batch of White House financial disclosures revealed close ties between top Biden Administration officials and corporate titans in Big Tech, Big Oil, and Big Pharma. Eleanor Eagan and Elias Alsbergas explain why these disclosures reveal the need for the Biden White House to adopt stronger ethics disclosures and mandate total divestment from potential conflicts of interest.

March 15, 2021 | Independent Media Institute

Elias Alsbergas

Op-Ed

ClimateCoronavirusEthics in GovernmentRevolving Door

When Public Officials Get Rented Out By Corporate Power, The People Lose

From Vivek Murthy’s lucrative consulting work with Netflix and Carnival Cruise Lines to Brian Deese’s “greenwashing” of fossil fuel investments at BlackRock, the revolving door between corporate industry and government continues to undermine public trust in the Biden Administration, writes our Elias Alsbergas.