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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.

January 25, 2022 | Talking Points Memo

Hannah Story Brown

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionDepartment of JusticeExecutive BranchIndependent AgenciesRevolving Door

DOJ Civil: Progressives Should Pay Attention To The Actions Of This Powerful Litigating Division

If you search for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Google, you’ll find an overwhelming majority of search results are for the Civil Rights Division. That’s unsurprising — the average person is typically more aware of the Civil Rights Division’s work. And it makes sense: As the “crown jewel” of the DOJ, the division performs the crucial work of enforcing the laws that prohibit discrimination.

December 13, 2021 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Department of Justice

The Trump Officials Still Running Biden’s Justice Department

We are rapidly approaching the one-year anniversary of January 6, and Attorney General Merrick Garland has yet to give any sign that his Justice Department is independently investigating former President Trump and his fellow instigators. This is, by far, Garland’s most high-profile failure when it comes to accountability for the prior administration, one that more observers have begun to notice. But it is not the only one.

December 07, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Press Release

Department of JusticeTech

Watchdog Requests Correspondence Concerning Senior DOJ Officials’ Recusals

Today, the Revolving Door Project issued Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for records reflecting any ethics advice given to any Senate-confirmed Department of Justice (DOJ) officials. The Project also requested any ethics advice given to Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General Anita Singh, whose husband is a member of Google’s antitrust defense team at law firm Vinson & Elkins. The Project is interested in which potential conflicts of interest do or don’t trigger ethics concerns within the Department, particularly as Big Tech companies engage in a cynical and specious campaign to use ethics rules to tie the hands of antitrust enforcers.  

November 18, 2021 | The American Prospect

Hannah Story Brown

Op-Ed

Department of JusticeEthics in GovernmentExecutive BranchIndependent AgenciesRevolving Door

How Biden Can Protect Students From Predatory For-Profit Colleges

The Biden administration inherited a morass of understaffed and undermined federal agencies, weakened by the Trump administration. It makes sense that building back the government’s capacity would be an uphill battle for the Biden administration, with so many years of policymaking undermined by his predecessor. What doesn’t make sense is the jarring number of cases in which the administration is going out of its way, at considerable cost, to uphold Trump-era policies that go against Biden’s stated agenda and the public interest.

November 17, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Newsletter

ClimateDepartment of JusticeExecutive BranchFederal ReserveIndependent AgenciesTreasury Department

After Infrastructure Week

Congressional selfies and self-congratulations inaugurated the week, but a lot of hard work remains to translate the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s (IIJA) policies into real-life results. Given that those policies are (generously) middling and that the most promising ones are underfunded, turning these into winning programs will demand energy, creativity, competence, and a strong commitment to the public interest.