Search Results for

Clear All Filters

June 26, 2019

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

2020 Election/Transition

How Well Do Leading 2020 Candidates Understand the Executive Branch?

Eleanor Eagan
It is one of the many peculiarities of American politics that legislative laundry lists dominate presidential campaigns even though presidents have little power to get these promises enacted. That is not to say that these aspirational assertions do not matter. As a statement of values, they can mobilize support.  But while legislation is subject to the considerable influence of, well, the legislature,how a candidate intends to do the job for which they are running (i.e. managing the executive branch) is something for which they can be held directly accountable. And yet candidates tend to be much less forthcoming with their vision for actually running the federal government. That silence reduces presidential accountability to the public for how they wield the powers of the executive. 

June 11, 2019

Eleanor Eagan Jeff Hauser

Blog Post

Congressional Oversight

Oversight Targets Abound in Betsy Devos' Education Department

Eleanor Eagan
Since last fall, the Revolving Door Project has been working to ensure that House Democrats use their newfound majority to perform long overdue oversight that targets the intersection between outsized corporate influence and Trump-era corruption. We have argued that across the breadth of every issue area imaginable, such oversight not only represents good policy but also good politics. In a moment of deep skepticism about the integrity of elites and institutions across the globe, fighting against corruption could not be more timely.    Despite our pleas, few Democrats have embraced this manner of populist oversight. This timidity is disheartening in all cases, but in certain areas, like Betsy Devos’ Education Department, it appears particularly egregious.

June 03, 2019

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

May Update on the State of Independent Federal Agencies

Eleanor Eagan
The federal government’s forty independent federal agencies receive too little attention relative to their importance to our collective safety and prosperity. The Revolving Door Project has worked through multiple channels to shed light on these overlooked agencies and the threats that they face. We hope public education will generate pressure to safeguard the independence of these agencies and ensure that they are staffed with advocates for the public interest rather than corporate insiders. 

May 16, 2019

Eleanor Eagan Jeff Hauser

Blog Post

Congressional OversightFinancial RegulationRevolving Door

The Oversight Options Available to the House Financial Services Committee

Eleanor Eagan and Jeff Hauser
The financial industry has been the driving force behind some of the most damaging economic trends of our time. In spite of this fact, since the spasm of reform reflected in the Dodd Frank Act, financiers have faced very little scrutiny from lawmakers. Instead of regulating the industry, many governing officials from both parties have chosen to collect campaign checks in exchange for helpful votes. Maxine Waters has rejected this complacency in favor of aggressive oversight. The committee’s failure to oversee the industry for so long, however, has left a significant backlog of issues to examine, in addition to the plethora of new and novel issues emerging under this administration. In an effort to help advocates and members of the public understand the scope of the task that the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) faces, the Revolving Door Project has compiled a list of problems that deserve the committee’s scrutiny.

May 01, 2019

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

April Update on the State of Independent Federal Agencies

Eleanor Eagan
The federal government’s forty independent federal agencies receive too little attention relative to their importance to our collective safety and prosperity. The Revolving Door Project has worked through multiple channels to shed light on these overlooked agencies and the threats that they face. We hope public education will generate pressure to safeguard the independence of these agencies and ensure that they are staffed with advocates for the public interest rather than corporate insiders. 

April 25, 2019

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCongressional Oversight

Bold Calls to #taxtherich, But Not Enough Talk of Enforcement

Eleanor Eagan
Earlier this year, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made waves when she used her appearance on 60 Minutes to call for a 70 percent marginal tax rate on incomes over $10 million. The mainstream media establishment was further blown away when polls in the following days showed that this radical proposal was wildly popular. To anyone who had been paying attention, this was hardly a shocking revelation; Americans have long supported raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Nonetheless, the renewed focus on proposals to tax the rich opens the door for a long overdue conversation about biases in our tax system and how to change them.

March 28, 2019

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

The Overlooked Executive Branch Scandal of the Trump Era -- Independent Agencies

Eleanor Eagan
The federal government’s forty independent federal agencies receive too little attention relative to their importance to our collective safety and prosperity. The Revolving Door Project has worked through multiple channels to shed light on these overlooked agencies and the threats that they face. We hope public education will generate pressure to safeguard the independence of these agencies and ensure that they are staffed with advocates for the public interest rather than corporate insiders. 

March 25, 2019

Jeff Hauser

Blog Post

Congressional Oversight

Mueller's End Ratchets Up Pressure on Richard Neal to Request Trump's Taxes

Jeff Hauser
In the coming days, advocates and lawmakers will fight to ensure that the findings of Mueller’s team are made public so that the American people may assess for themselves the results of the Special Counsel’s two-year investigation. Even as this important work unfolds, however, we must also acknowledge the limitations of the Special Counsel’s investigation. That’s why we renew our call from early January for Representative Richard Neal (D-MA) to perform his constitutional obligations and request Trump’s tax returns without any delay.

March 20, 2019

Eleanor Eagan

Blog PostFOIA Request

ClimateFinancial RegulationRevolving Door

RDP Requests Record of Contracts between BlackRock and Key Federal Agencies

Eleanor Eagan
With just under $6 trillion in assets under management (as of year-end 2018) BlackRock is the largest money manager in the world. Virtually unheard of only a decade ago, it has now grown into one of the most powerful forces in financial markets and politics alike. Central to this ascendance was its risk management software, Aladdin. Aladdin — an acronym for Asset Liability and Debt and Derivative Investment Network — has become the “industry’s dominant platform for keeping track of portfolios.” It counts among its clients approximately 200 financial firms who use the software to manage approximately $18 trillion in assets.

March 14, 2019

Jeff Hauser

Blog Post

Congressional Oversight

Coalition Asks Pelosi: Make Ways & Means Committee Do Its Job

Yesterday a coalition of good government and progressive groups sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi urging her to “to take every available step to ensure that the House Ways and Means Committee fulfills its Constitutional obligation to provide stringent oversight.” You wouldn’t think such a letter would be necessary. Given the broad public outcry at different rules for the rich and everyone else, you would think a Democratic Party seeking to reclaim the mantle of populism would naturally pursue opportunities to discover the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” of tax evasion.

March 04, 2019

Jeff Hauser

Blog Post

Congressional Oversight

Revolving Door Project Reacts to Richard Neal's Announcement: Late and Weak

Jeff Hauser
Don’t let the headline (“House Democrats prepare case to request Trump tax returns”) fool you: Richard Neal’s announcement of a plan to issue a request letter for Trump’s tax returns comes distressingly late — and projects to be vastly too modest in scope. Revolving Door Project, which has helped lead the way in spotlighting Neal’s shirking the need for serious Congressional oversight, notes the following problems with the request as reported by NBC News.

March 01, 2019

Eleanor Eagan Jeff Hauser

Blog Post

Congressional Oversight

NY State Lawmakers Show How We Can Advance Reform in Face of Federal Gridlock

As federal policymakers shrink away from their campaign promises to request President Trump’s tax returns, state lawmakers are stepping up to take their place. On January 24, the New Jersey Senate passed a bill that would bar presidential and vice-presidential candidates from appearing on the ballot unless they released five years of federal tax returns. Meanwhile, there is growing momentum in New York for the TRUTH ACT, a bill which would require state tax authorities to release tax returns for any officials elected statewide, from State Comptroller and Attorney General up the ranks through to the President of the United States. That bill now has 78 cosponsors in the NY State Assembly (a majority) and 28 in the State Senate (four shy of a majority). If passed, New York state tax authorities will be required to release Trump’s tax records within 30 days. Those records would not just include income earned in New York state but worldwide income as well.

February 21, 2019

Jeff Hauser

Blog Post

Revolving Door

NYT’s Whitewash of Revolving Door Figure, Robert Khuzami

Jeff Hauser
In this widely read article on President Trump and the Justice Department, the New York Times characterized the Deputy US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), Robert Khuzami, in an entirely inaccurate manner. Not only was the characterization factually wrong, meriting a correction on its own, but it also gives readers unwarranted confidence in Khuzami’s independence. Indeed, Khuzami’s actual professional history merits serious scrutiny from the Times.  The February 19, 2019 article stated that, “The inquiry is run by Robert Khuzami, a career prosecutor who took over after Mr. Berman, whom Mr. Trump appointed, recused himself because of a routine conflict of interest.” (emphasis added)The phrase “career prosecutor” conveys to a reader that Khuzami was a nonpolitical appointment who had spent the vast majority of his career in nonpolitical public service jobs prosecuting alleged criminals. Neither meaning is close to accurate, and the distance from truth actually elides the reason why Khuzami’s central role ought to stoke fear rather than generate calm.

January 29, 2019

Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Congressional OversightFinancial Regulation

How the Trump Team Might Make Some Hedge Funds Solvent Again

Eleanor Eagan and Jeff Hauser
Immediately following President Trump’s election, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s future generated renewed and robust interest. The Government Sponsored Entities’ (GSE) shares rallied on expectations that the Trump administration would take both entities out of conservatorship in a manner that rewarded all shareholders, including hedge-fund speculators. In the intervening two years, however, those expectations faded and shares in the GSEs underwent a slow decline.

January 28, 2019

Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Congressional Oversight

Richard Neal Doth Protest Too Much

Jeff Hauser and Eleanor Eagan
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) has been criticized by many, including us, for his failure to pursue Trump’s tax returns in a timely manner. In an article in the Berkshire Eagle with the friendly title, “Neal lays groundwork on push for Trump tax returns,” Neal gave his constituents his side of the story.

Below, we annotate Neal’s claims.