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May 27, 2020

Erica Jung

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign FinanceForeign Policy

What Might a Biden Administration’s Policy Towards India Look Like?

Former Vice President and current Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has often boasted of his considerable foreign policy experience, having served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and played an active role in the Obama administration’s foreign policy making. Throughout the 2020 primary, however, Biden’s foreign policy agenda rarely featured. A closer look reveals significant cause for concern. While Biden seeks to show that his foreign policy platform would be more progressive than that of Trump’s, his record has weak spots when it comes to far-right Indian nationalism.

May 11, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign Finance

Biden's No Trumpian Real Estate Tycoon, But Still Receives Heavy Real Estate Backing

With real estate tycoon Donald Trump in the White House, the average American is likely more aware than ever of the many ways the federal government helps to subsidize real estate profits. As the average person increasingly struggles to pay rising housing costs with stagnating wages, real estate giants make out like bandits with the help of tax loopholes and direct subsidies. Already a matter of pressing national concern, this stark disparity is only likely to become more salient in the coming months as the pandemic sheds light on the risks of our housing system’s precarity and undermines many people’s fragile grip on housing stability.

May 11, 2020

Joshua Timi Iwayemi

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign FinanceForeign Policy

Diplomacy by Donors

On December 18, 2019, the United States House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump for withholding military aid from Ukraine as a means to pressure Vladimir Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden. One of the key figures in this scandal was Gordon Sondland, then ambassador to the European Union. Sondland had limited diplomatic experience before his appointment, but he had the privilege of donating $1 million to President Trump’s inaugural committee.

May 11, 2020

Miranda Litwak

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign FinanceTech

Biden's Ties to Immigration Enforcement Run Through BigTech

As we creep closer to November’s election, Democratic politicians–progressives and moderates alike–have largely fallen in line behind presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Even so, Biden must earn the vote of many progressive voters who are wary of his pro-corporate leanings. While Biden showed promise by teaming up with Sanders’ campaign on policy, there is still cause for grave concern. Just last week, the public learned that Larry Summers was advising the Biden campaign. Last month Biden’s donors put out a list of ideal candidates for senior-level administration positions, which included Wall Street big wigs such as BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink, Blackstone executive Tony James, and investment banker Mark Gallogly. Biden’s wealthy donors must be monitored in order to prevent corporate interests from capturing his transition-planning effort.

February 27, 2020

Andrea Beaty

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign Finance

Biden and Buttigieg See Pharma Money As The Cure For Campaign Woes

HHS secretary Alex Azar refused to guarantee a coronavirus vaccine would be affordable to all during Congressional testimony on Wednesday. The outrage reminded Americans why they are sick and tired of the unchecked pharmaceutical industry’s abuses. As we wrote for the American Prospect, Azar is a former pharma lobbyist who, like the rest of President Trump’s coronavirus response team, has no background in public health or research.

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.

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.