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May 16, 2022

Hannah Story Brown

Press Release

2020 Election/TransitionAdministrative LawDepartment of JusticeEthics in Government

Biden DOJ Is Still Advancing Trump Positions, New Data Shows

Well over a year after President Biden’s inauguration, his administration continues to defend and advance Trump-era legal positions, according to an updated analysis released by the Revolving Door Project today. RDP’s long-running litigation tracker, documenting court cases in which the Biden administration has inherited and chosen to advance Trump-era legal positions, has been brought up-to-date to include new instances where the legal advocacy of Merrick Garland’s Justice Department on environmental, immigration, education, and other issues runs counter to the administration’s commitments.

May 16, 2022

Letter

Anti-MonopolyDepartment of JusticeEthics in GovernmentTech

Coalition Urges DOJ to Grant Jonathan Kanter a Waiver to Lead on Google Cases

We write to you as a coalition of organizations committed to holding anti-competitive behavior accountable. As a decorated antitrust lawyer committed to the public interest, Jonathan S. Kanter has the background needed to be a strong Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DOJ). We are thus alarmed that Mr. Kanter was barred from participating in DOJ scrutiny of Google while the DOJ determines whether to ask for his recusal at the behest of the embattled company. Accordingly, we urge the DOJ to provide Mr. Kanter with a waiver to allow him to participate in DOJ scrutiny of Google’s anti-competitive behavior.

May 16, 2022

Andrea Beaty Eleanor Eagan Nika Hajikhodaverdikhan Sion Bell Hannah Story Brown

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionAdministrative LawDepartment of Justice

The Trump Administration Made a Mockery of the Law. Why Hasn't Biden Tossed its Cases?

Donald Trump and his Department of Justice consistently made a mockery of the law throughout his four years in power. And while their laughable reasoning and indefensible positions were struck down at a historic rate, many cases were still waiting for Biden. The new administration tossed out a handful immediately but an alarming number remain, either in some form of pause or advancing forward with the Biden administration adopting Trump’s position.

April 05, 2022

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis Andrea Beaty

Blog Post

Anti-MonopolyDepartment of JusticeFTCGovernment Capacity

Putting Biden’s Antitrust Budget Increases In Context

The federal government may no longer be operating under the onus of Trump-era austerity, but agencies across the federal government are still far from having the resources they need to quickly and effectively fulfill their responsibilities to the American people. For the most part, President Biden’s proposed FY 2023 budget fails to fill that gap. However, increased funding for antitrust regulation is one of the bright spots in an otherwise uninspired budget. As we have covered in the past, both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division (ATR) saw staffing levels stagnate and budget allocations that did not keep pace with inflation or GDP growth. 

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 16, 2022

Fatou Ndiaye

Blog Post

ClimateDepartment of JusticeGovernment Capacity

To Take Down Corporate Polluters, the DOJ's Environmental Enforcer Needs More Capacity

Overseen by Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim, the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) is one of seven litigating components of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The ENRD is divided into ten sections, each with its own area of expertise. The Division fulfills a wide range of responsibilities. For instance, the ENRD is tasked with protecting the nation’s natural resources and enforcing U.S. civil and criminal environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and hazardous waste laws. The Division also handles tribal rights and resources cases. Other responsibilities include, but are not limited to, “facilitating cleaner energy and ensuring marketplace integrity; defending and adjudicating water rights for Federal agencies and Indian Tribes, as well as policies and decisions that support the generation of clean energy on Federal lands and the outer continental shelf; and, promoting international climate justice activities and the advancement of legislative and policy matters related to climate change.”

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.

March 03, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post

Department of JusticeRevolving Door

Revolver Spotlight: Michael Easley Jr. and the Office of the U.S. Attorneys

As officers with extraordinary latitude and immense authority within their districts, U.S. Attorneys have the ability to implement ambitious reforms to the federal legal landscape in a direct and immediate fashion. U.S. Attorneys also have incredible freedom to reorient the undercurrent priorities of the federal legal system and to center historically under prosecuted, but systemic nonetheless, crimes such as corporate and white collar malfeasance. Because of the incredible potential of the position, it is critical that these offices are prioritized in Biden’s staffing of the federal bureaucracy. However, as we have examined previously, the Biden administration has proven remarkably slow in its nominations process for U.S. Attorneys positions, seemingly in part due to an unwillingness to decisively abandon deference to a racist Senate decorum procedure known as blue slips.

February 22, 2022

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis

Report

Anti-MonopolyDepartment of JusticeGovernment Capacity

Making The Antitrust Division Competitive: A Look At Capacity As Biden Revitalizes Enforcement

The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division (ATR) is, along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the primary regulator of antitrust law and is responsible for ensuring markets’ competitiveness. In that capacity, it investigates corporate consolidation and allegations of collusion and anticompetitive practices that undermine the free market. ATR is also responsible for supervising mergers and acquisitions to ensure that companies cannot establish monopolies. While both ATR and the FTC share this objective, the two divide jurisdiction based on industry. ATR also investigates and prosecutes criminal antitrust violations.

February 11, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post

Department of JusticeExecutive Branch

Abandon Blue Slips: An Examination of the U.S. Attorneys Office

President Biden campaigned on ambitious reforms to the criminal legal system. Among these promises were key proposals like expanding the use of the President’s clemency powers, reorienting federal prosecutorial priorities, and decentering carcerality in the Federal system. His administration has also promised the public a new focus on white collar and corporate crime as part of a fundamental shift towards systemic accountability instead of individual punishment. Yet, more than a year into Biden’s presidency, many of these promises remain unfulfilled. His Department of Justice (DOJ) – a key tool in the fight for meaningful legal reforms – remains pockmarked by Trump-era officials and lacks the permanent progressive leadership integral to successful reform efforts. U.S. Attorneys’ offices, in particular, remain limited by the standing lack of nominations, confirmations, and stable leadership that persists over a year after President Biden’s inauguration.

January 31, 2022 | The American Prospect

Hannah Story Brown

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionDepartment of JusticeEthics in GovernmentExecutive Branch

Garland Has Yet to De-Trumpify His Office of Legal Counsel

One former employee of the Office of Legal Counsel, upon quitting her job during the Trump presidency, described the OLC’s work to The Washington Post succinctly: “using the law to legitimize lies.” Three years later, and a year after Trump left office, most of those legitimized lies remain intact.

January 27, 2022

Letter

Anti-MonopolyDepartment of JusticeGovernment CapacityRevolving Door

Letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland Highlights Urgent Need for Resources in the Antitrust Division 

The Justice Department plays a key role in President Biden’s vision of promoting “the interests of American workers, businesses, and consumers” through increasing competition, a plan which stands to be one the most enduring legacies of this administration. Your commitment to promote “competition by fairly and vigorously enforcing the antitrust laws,” along with the confirmation of Jonathan Kanter to Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division, are crucial steps forward in this vision.