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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.

October 23, 2020 | Public Seminar

Mariama Eversley Yevgeny Shrago

Op-Ed

Congressional OversightGovernment Capacity

Donald Trump Politicized the Federal Bureaucracy: The Next President Needs to Reverse That

In an effort to mitigate the political damage from failing to contain the virus and manage its corollary crises, the White House recently mandated that the Department of Agriculture include a signed letter from Donald Trump inside food boxes, claiming credit for the federal program providing food to families in need. The move effectively politicized the taxpayer funded program as a tool of the president’s own self-promotion just a month before the election. Even worse, the department’s inclusion of the letter has jeopardized the program’s operation, as distribution sites fear they will be improperly engaging in political activity.

October 23, 2020 | Washington Monthly

Yevgeny Shrago

Op-Ed

Government Capacity

Uncle Sam’s HR Department Needs Help

Joe Biden promises a return to an honest, competent federal government. For that to happen, the government must be adequately staffed with experienced civil servants empowered to push forward his policy agenda, should he win. Without an experienced team, even the best appointees will struggle.

September 24, 2020 | The American Prospect

Yevgeny Shrago

Op-Ed

ClimateGovernment Capacity

Re-Fund the EPA

The wildfires and hurricanes plaguing the United States in the last month reflect the massive societal implications of climate change. Understanding the importance of this moment, Vice President Joe Biden has proposed a $2 trillion climate plan designed to transition the economy away from greenhouse gas emissions. The plan calls for an emission-free power sector by 2030, as well as an environmental justice component to address how climate policies have failed communities of color. Parts of Biden’s plan will require new legislation and others will deputize numerous federal agencies. But a major share of responsibility for success will fall on the Environmental Protection Agency.

September 01, 2020

FOIA RequestPress Release

Ethics in GovernmentGovernment Capacity

Revolving Door Project Seeks to Uncover Politicization of Career Hiring Under Trump

Today, the Revolving Door Project is introducing a new initiative to uncover and draw attention to the ways the Trump administration may be seeking to interfere with the federal government’s ability to effectively serve the public interest over the long-term. RDP has issued Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the resumes of new hires at 10 federal departments and agencies. We seek to determine if hiring for career positions has been subjected to political influence. It is our hope that, by identifying potential instances of politicization, we can build political support for efforts to reverse any damage.

August 10, 2020 | Talking Points Memo

Mariama Eversley

Op-Ed

Government Capacity

The Same Racist Rhetoric Used To Oppose D.C. Statehood Keeps The Federal Government Dysfunctional

Conservatives like Cotton have long villainized African-American pathways to the middle class that include government employment. In a conservative worldview that sees the U.S. government as by and for white people, Black employment in the public sector becomes a target for the GOP and federal jobs become fodder for racist “dog whistle” politics.

August 10, 2020

Mariama Eversley

Blog Post

Government Capacity

Why Hasn’t The Trump Administration Released Their Organizational Chart For The Office of Management and Budget?

In more normal times, it was routine to expect administrations to publish the organizational charts of their executive branch agencies. These charts offer transparency, giving the public a glimpse into the inner workings of the complex world of each executive branch agency. These charts also allow the public to understand how governance works and potentially identify which departments require more oversight.

July 27, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Government Capacity

Building a Federal Workforce that Works for All

By quietly capturing key positions throughout the executive branch, corporate America has reshaped the rules that govern our economy. RDP regularly calls attention to these oft-overlooked corporate allies to increase the political costs of politicians’ consequential personnel concessions. At the same time, we are leading the way in envisioning an alternative model — one in which political appointments go to a more representative, public-interest minded class of leaders — and charting how we get there. As important as this work is, however, it alone will not be sufficient to remake government for the people. Even the most committed, effective leaders can do very little to advance the public interest if the institutions they lead are broken. And our governing infrastructure is crumbling. After years of attacks from both sides of the aisle, the federal government is able to do less overall and to do what it still does less effectively. This is not, as some would have you believe, an inherent failure endemic to “Big Government” but the opposite — ineffectiveness is the direct result of disinvestment.