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September 01, 2021 | The New Republic
In a move cheered by progressives and antitrust reformers, President Biden has nominated Jonathan Kanter to serve as assistant attorney general for antitrust. Kanter’s nomination, alongside that of Lina Khan to lead the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year, is the latest sign that this administration is, for the first time in generations, fiercely committed to enforcing antitrust laws. However, this generation’s most notorious monopolies—Amazon, Facebook, and Google—are making it vividly clear that they will try anything to retain their power. That apparently includes lobbing poorly reasoned, transparently bad faith calls for their newly anointed foes to recuse themselves from relevant cases.
September 01, 2021 | Sludge
A financial disclosure reveals that Special Envoy for Energy Affairs Amos Hochstein operated a shadow consultancy with foreign fossil fuel clients.
August 05, 2021
SKDKnickerbocker more or less specializes in running interference for deeply awful companies when a Democratic administration might be inclined to have them face consequences for the harms they cause.
August 05, 2021 | Talking Points Memo
We have no shortage of information about how historically bad an Attorney General William Barr was. His tenure was marked by attacks on LGBTQ rights, immigrants, and peaceful protestors. His overt politicization of the investigations into Russian interference in the election, the Mueller report, and Roger Stone’s sentencing are well-documented, and in a continuing headache for the Biden Administration’s DOJ, Barr’s Justice Department’s intervened to protect Trump against E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against him just two months before the election. And yet, as we saw this week following revelations that his DOJ declined to prosecute Commerce Department officials for lying about the provenance of the Census citizenship question, what we know merely scratches the surface.
July 28, 2021
Since the Trump administration, the Revolving Door Project has repeatedly brought attention to the importance of strong government ethics rules, including by ensuring that presidential nominees are free from corporate conflicts of interest and forthcoming about their financial ties. But while rules already exist that require nominees to disclose financial information, including assets and recent major purchases, a recent story by the Washington Post illustrates a lingering loophole in our ethics laws for Cabinet nominees. The story centers on Trump’s then-prospective nominee for Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue, and a particularly fishy real estate deal.
July 20, 2021
June 30th marked the last official day of Republican Neil Chatterjee’s term as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Despite FERC’s obscurity, it is a critically important independent agency of the federal government that regulates the interstate transmission of oil, gas, and electricity, and reviews proposals to build gas terminals and pipelines. As of July 1st, a new commissioner nominated by President Biden and confirmed by the Senate could have stepped in, giving the five-seat board a Democratic majority. Biden has thus far failed to begin that process, so Chatterjee will remain serving an expired term until Biden appoints and the Senate confirms someone new.
July 14, 2021
The Biden Administration has a historic opportunity to reverse the executive branch’s long-standing war on whistleblowers, and end the all-too-common (and sadly bipartisan) practice of villainizing whistleblowers and leakers to avoid accountability for government wrongdoing revealed by these actors.
July 06, 2021
The Annual Report on White House Personnel has confirmed what we’ve long suspected: Anita Dunn took an anomalously low salary to shield her financial information from public view. In essence, Dunn purchased the right to secrecy.
July 06, 2021 | The Daily Beast
Neil MacBride spent eight years leveraging his government experience to defend Big Oil, Big Pharma, and Wall Street giants. Why does Biden want him back?
June 30, 2021
President Biden has hired several Big Oil consultants and insiders to staff the executive branch amid growing calls for federal climate action.
June 09, 2021
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
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 21, 2021
Brian Netter, a corporate attorney who represented big business in wage theft cases and litigated against workers who sued companies for mismanaging their retirement funds, was just appointed to the Department of Justice.