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January 05, 2021

Vishal Shankar Zena Wolf

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCabinetExecutive BranchFinancial RegulationRevolving DoorRight-Wing MediaTech

Biden Should Beware The Right-Wing's Revolving Door Attacks

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 24, 2020

Zena Wolf

Blog Post

2020 Election/Transition

Why Progressives Should Care About The Commerce Secretary

As President-elect Joe Biden fills out his Cabinet, progressives have pushed hard on most major positions, save one: Commerce Secretary. Reporting on this role frames the seat as the liaison to the business community, who can “rebuild relationships” with massive corporations like BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, and Mastercard. (Were relationships ever frayed to begin with?) This framing makes the Commerce Secretary seem like a glorified middle-man between C-Suites and the White House, overlooking the actual functions of their Department, including the Patent and Trademark Office, the Census Bureau, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and crucial components of US trade policy.

December 11, 2020

Dorothy Slater

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimate

Mary Nichols Is The Wrong EPA Administrator For 2021

Mary Nichols, the reported frontrunner to lead Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency, has been appointed four times to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and is best known for spearheading California’s cap-and-trade program. Since the program began, California’s carbon emissions from its oil and gas industry rose 3.5%. For a state that would have the fifth-largest economy if it were a country, anything but a significant and ongoing decline in carbon emissions is disastrous.

December 08, 2020

Miranda Litwak

Blog Post

2020 Election/Transition

Tom Vilsack: The Wrong Choice for USDA Secretary

The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a hugely underappreciated and powerful position. The USDA’s programs and regulations touch policy areas far beyond traditional agriculture, impacting climate change, food policy, immigration, antitrust issues, rural development, and racial justice. Biden’s choice to lead the USDA must be ready and willing to employ the USDA’s power and pursue the following policy goals.

December 07, 2020

Max Moran

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionDepartment of Justice

Sally Yates' Record of Ignoring The Innocent And Protecting The Guilty

Sally Yates, an anti-Trump #Resistance icon, spent her last year in Obama’s Justice department refusing to act on a high-profile clemency initiative, prompting a furious resignation letter from Obama’s pardon attorney. After her famous firing in the early Trump days, Yates went to work for BigLaw firm King & Spalding’s “Special Matters and Government Investigations” practice, which is BigLawspeak for “teaching corporate America which laws they can violate without DOJ filing suit, and how to tamp down on suits which they do file.”

December 04, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionIndependent Agencies

Why Wasn't this Vote a Priority for Kamala Harris?

With scant days remaining in this Congress, Senate Republicans are busily working to undermine the incoming Biden administration by rushing to confirm Trump’s nominees to terms that will last well beyond January 20, 2021. Yesterday, in a close 48 to 47 vote, they installed Christopher Waller to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in a term that will not expire until 2030, robbing Biden of the seat. With Mike Pence and his potential tie-breaking vote out of town, Kamala Harris (in her capacity as a Senator) had the power to delay, if not stop it.

December 04, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

November 2020 Update on the State of Independent Federal Agencies

Over the past several years, President Trump’s assault on governing norms, from his refusal to reveal information about his finances to his glee in firing those who are not sufficiently loyal to him, has sparked public outcry. One set of norm violations, however, has received relatively little attention from the media or from Senate Democrats. Quietly Trump and Mitch McConnell have undermined independent agencies’ functionality by slow-walking minority party nominations. And, in particular, they have undermined the norm of statutorily-mandated political balance on many independent agency boards in a move that could keep regulatory power in Republican hands for years after Trump leaves office.