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January 05, 2021
Fresh off defending Donald Trump’s historic corruption, conservatives have begun attacking President-elect Biden for his nominees’ ties to Big Tech, Wall Street, and corporate lobbying. While these attacks are transparently hypocritical, they are not without factual substance and could prove to be a major political liability for Democrats unless they commit to adopting much-needed ethics reforms.
December 18, 2020
Use this ongoing tracker to monitor the ties to Big Tech from individuals on the agency review teams, individuals who have been officially designated as nominees, and others who we suspect are jockeying for posts right now.
December 15, 2020 | Washington Post
Businesspeople Aren't Bad — But Rigging The System Is
It is a telling misunderstanding of the revolving-door critique to equate Jeffrey D. Zients’s private-sector history with that of all businesses. Mr. Zients is not a wealthy and respected businessman because he made a particularly good widget or displayed unusual managerial skill.
December 13, 2020
Concerns over the presence of corporate insiders in the Biden administration are coming opportunistically from so-called “right-wing populists.” This makes it all the more important for Biden and the Democrats to close the revolving door once and for all.
December 09, 2020
“We are glad that advocates and authorities across the country have begun to recognize the democratic imperative of ending concentrated economic power. In the case of Big Tech firms like Facebook, Google, and Amazon, the power they wield over the internet, the economy, our government, and broader society has had an incalculable impact.”
November 24, 2020
From 2008 – 2016, Brian Deese rose from a law student to a Presidential advisor on fiscal policy, climate change, and trade. Deese’s personal geniality and intelligent demeanor drove this rise — but a review of his policy positions reveals a history of backing wildly incorrect conventional wisdom convivial to the powers that be.
November 18, 2020 | The Guardian
Biden's Cabinet Could Do A Lot — If He Resists The Urge To Fill It With 'Consensus' Picks
For corporate America, divided government is a blessing. A dysfunctional legislature will struggle to pass laws raising corporate taxes or cracking down on corporate malfeasance. But just as importantly, by pushing the narrative that no progressives could ever get anything through a Republican-controlled Senate, corporate executives can position themselves as bipartisan “consensus” picks for powerful cabinet posts and regulatory jobs.
November 17, 2020
Progressive Groups Urge President-Elect Biden Not to Appoint Former Google CEO to Administration
The Revolving Door Project is joined by the Open Markets Institute, the Communications Workers of America, and 11 other progressive organizations in asking President-elect Joe Biden to take a hard line against the influence of individuals with close ties to Google. The letter focuses in particular on the former longtime CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt. Schmidt is reportedly being considered for a position in President-elect Biden’s administration, an appointment that risks alienating voters who want to see the economic power of Google and other major corporations reined in.
November 16, 2020
Revolving Door Project and Other Progressive Groups Oppose Appointment of Former Google CEO to Biden Administration
November 13, 2020
Economists-For-Hire Help Monopolists And Big Oil Both
On Wednesday, The New York Times exposed that a network of seemingly-grassroots campaigns to promote the use of fossil fuels was actually organized by FTI Consulting, a dystopic corporate consulting firm working on behalf of oil and gas behemoths like ExxonMobil. The Times also implicates an FTI subsidiary, Compass Lexecon, in producing academic reports to support these astroturfed campaigns’ talking points. Compass Lexecon employees wrote reports criticizing activist shareholders and university divestment campaigns, tactics often used by the environmental activists FTI was paid to undermine.
October 28, 2020 | New Republic
Beltway Lobbyists Are Clutching Their Pearls Over Biden's Ethics Reforms
Thousands of people, from all walks of life, are attracted to doing policy work in Washington. The ones who aren’t multimillionaires don’t get offered the Treasury undersecretary position as an entry-level job.
August 10, 2020
The Revolving Door Project on Fighting Monopoly Power
Congress and the antitrust enforcement agencies have given unprecedented attention to the monopoly issues surrounding Big Tech in recent months. The scrutiny is one step toward rebalancing our increasingly concentrated economy, especially in the time of COVID-19, when small businesses are struggling to survive and corporations are further entrenching their power. But the problem of economic concentration extends far beyond Big Tech. It defines almost every corner of our economy. With the upcoming election and a potential shift in power, Joe Biden has an opportunity to reduce economic consolidation across the board, using executive branch powers including, but not limited to, reforming the antitrust enforcement agencies.
June 17, 2020
“Career” Trade Reps Solicit USMCA Consulting Gigs from Auto Industry
Jason Bernstein and Fred Fischer, both Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representatives, reached out to auto industry representatives offering to “assist companies directly with their USMCA implementation needs,” according to Bloomberg’s report. The report did not confirm whether Bernstein and Fischer asked for or received clearance to contact the auto companies, while ethics experts speculate that offering such services while still employed by the government might breach federal ethics requirements.
June 08, 2020 | The American Prospect
Rahm Emanuel, The Worst Man For The Moment
If Emanuel gets Biden’s ear during the transition, he will do everything possible to protect the powerful and sink the ambitions of the populist base. But, again, it isn’t clear if Emanuel is overstating his supposed influence to, in Ruthhart’s words, “keep himself relevant.”
June 04, 2020
A Brief Introduction to Your New Comptroller of the Currency
Last month, Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, announced that he would be stepping down from his post effective May 29. The former First Deputy Comptroller of the Currency, Brian Brooks, has taken his place in an acting capacity. Although he is now one of the country’s top banking regulators, Brooks – who only joined the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) – remains a relatively unknown figure. Here is what we know (and more troublingly, what we don’t know) about the new acting Comptroller.