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February 12, 2021 | Talking Points Memo

Mariama Eversley

Op-Ed

Department of JusticeGovernment Capacity

Resignation of Trump-Appointed US Attorneys Is Just The Start Of DOJ’s De-Trumpification

In the Reconstruction era following the Civil War, the Department of Justice was created in part to deliver and oversee equal rights to formerly enslaved Black men and women. This corrective institution was a major step toward building a federal government that protects the civil rights of all its citizens. In the wrong hands, however, the department can be weaponized. Whether through inaction or outright hostility on issues ranging from white-collar crime to mass incarceration, the values animating the nation’s top law enforcement agency matter.

February 08, 2021

Press Release

Government Capacity

Impeachment Just the Start: Lawmakers Must Reverse Trump's Damage to the Civil Service

This week, the Senate begins its historic second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump centered on his attempt to overthrow the 2020 presidential election results by inciting an insurrection on the US Capitol that ultimately resulted in five deaths. Yet, rather than a singularly heinous act unmoored from the rest of his presidency, Trump’s attempted coup was the culmination of years of attacks on the federal government. Today, the Revolving Door Project released a memo, “Existential Threat to the Civil Service: Politicization Under Trump,” which charts Trump’s long war on the people and agencies that constitute the backbone of our country.

January 29, 2021

Miranda Litwak

Press Release

2020 Election/TransitionGovernment Capacity

Progressives Vehemently Object To Cass Sunstein’s Plans To Return To Government

The American Prospect reported today that Cass Sunstein, the former Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), is telling colleagues he is in line for a job in the Biden Administration. Environmental, labor, consumer advocacy, and progressive economic groups are united in their disdain toward Sunstein for his attacks on common-sense regulation throughout his time in the Obama Administration.

January 27, 2021

Press Release

Government Capacity

Revolving Door Project: Biden Must Use Available Tools to Grow Civil Service Quickly

Last week, Joe Biden assumed the presidency amid multiple, overlapping, short- and long-term crises. The list of priorities for the new administration is long and fights over the relative emphasis placed on each are surely incoming. To sidestep these ugly battles and ensure that his administration rises to meet each of these pressing crises, President Joe Biden must use all available powers to rebuild the federal government’s capacity to act in the public interest. The Revolving Door Project’s latest memo, “Rapid Reinforcements: A Guide to Federal Hiring Authorities,” enumerates the authorities that a Biden administration can and should use to scale up civil service capacity quickly.

January 21, 2021

Ella Fanger Sion Bell

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionEthics in GovernmentGovernment Capacity

To Build Back Better, Biden Must Fix Government

Yesterday, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. President Biden has promised to build back a better America, but he faces a steep climb to reach this lofty goal. The nation is still reeling from an ongoing pandemic and recession, and the government has had to cope with massive shocks to the civil service, morale, and its basic functions during the Trump administration. To make good on his promise, Biden will need to undo the damage from Trump and decades of right-wing actions to undermine governance.

January 19, 2021 | Slate

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Congressional OversightGovernment Capacity

Trump Has Quietly Hollowed Out the Government

Over four years, federal workers were ignored, subjected to retaliation, and fired for articulating politically inconvenient truths or standing in the way of President Donald Trump’s attacks against the public. By all accounts, that is set to change under President-elect Joe Biden. But while new attacks may not be forthcoming, the fissures from old ones will remain, threatening the federal government’s structural integrity unless the next administration and Congress take action. For all that we know about Trump’s assaults on the federal workforce, there is likely more that remains hidden. Up to this point, Democratic leadership has failed to make combating or uncovering these incursions a priority. For the sake of the Biden administration’s success, that will need to change.

January 12, 2021

Zena Wolf

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionForeign PolicyGovernment Capacity

With Bill Burns At CIA, A Hopeful Move Toward Civil Service Revitalization

At the Revolving Door Project, we have frequently emphasized the importance of strengthening the civil service to ensure government works for public service and doesn’t cater to the interest of powerful people and corporations. We warned about how too much reliance on political appointments in the executive branch reduces accountability, citing academic research that political appointees perform worse than career managers. Especially in the Trump era, we have seen numerous examples of political appointees using the government for personal gain. Biden’s selection of William Burns, a career diplomat, as his CIA director should therefore be widely praised by progressives as a step towards restoring the civil service and depoliticizing the American intelligence community.

January 12, 2021

Mariama Eversley

Blog Post

Government Capacity

Schedule F Still Poses a Grave Threat to the Civil Service

From the moment President Trump took office, he has been on a warpath with the civil service. He and his associates have waged an open war (and likely one behind closed doors as well) to seize control over federal employees just out of reach of easy firing. In October, as his presidency appeared rapidly to be approaching its end, he lobbed a bomb at the civil service system.

December 21, 2020

Press Release

Government Capacity

Revolving Door Project Statement on Congressional Leaders' Failure to Protect the Civil Service

On Sunday Congress announced that it had reached a deal on a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill that will keep the federal government funded through September. The package includes $1.375 billion for the border wall — sticking the incoming administration with a costly, unpopular, and inhumane project — and does nothing to halt President Trump’s attack on the civil service through the creation and implementation of the new “Schedule F” civil service classification.

November 20, 2020 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan Mariama Eversley

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionGovernment CapacityIndependent Agencies

Joe Biden Must Not Look for Unity in Mitch McConnell’s Obstruction

Last week, Mitch McConnell chose to fan the flames of baseless electoral conspiracy rather than acknowledge Joe Biden’s indisputable victory. Meanwhile, prominent Democrats took to the airwaves to insist that working with McConnell would not be nearly as hard as people claimed. This is dangerous, wishful thinking.

November 18, 2020 | The Hill

Yevgeny Shrago

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionGovernment Capacity

GSA head's transition refusal a predictable consequence of too many political appointees

General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator Emily Murphy is often introduced as “obscure” or “little known.” Her new-found notoriety stems from her refusal to declare Joe Biden as the president-elect. This inaction blocks his team from meeting with senior agency personnel, even as Murphy herself looks for her next job. Murphy has drawn bipartisan condemnation for playing along with Trump’s assault on democracy. The condemnation should extend to the system that prioritizes rewarding political operatives like Murphy over any principles of merit, efficiency or meaningful accountability.

November 02, 2020 | Talking Points Memo

Eleanor Eagan Yevgeny Shrago

Op-Ed

Congressional OversightGovernment Capacity

A Lame Duck Trump Admin Will Do All It Can To Pilfer Before Jan. Dems Must Be Ruthless In Thwarting It.

The way tomorrow’s election will go remains highly uncertain. If Trump loses, however, there is no doubt that his administration will set about destroying and pilfering all that it can. Already, as they stare down the barrel of electoral defeat, Trump and his entourage are previewing their lame-duck plan to shovel every federal dollar they can to family and friends.

October 29, 2020 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionGovernment Capacity

Note to Biden: A President Can Do a Lot Even Without the Senate

For almost four years, the breathtaking cruelty, mismanagement, and corruption of the Trump administration have kept the pundits yapping, the printing presses running, angry congressional letters flying, and the Twittersphere ablaze. Depending on the results of next Tuesday’s election, however, Joe Biden may soon be in a position to actually do something about it all. As Biden and his advisers survey the rubble, it will be important that they not get distracted by the nonsense (“I will tweet less” is not a compelling administrative pillar), but rather home in on those features of the Trump administration that have made life worse for millions.