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February 22, 2021 | Responsible Statecraft

Brett Heinz

Op-Ed

Executive BranchForeign PolicyRevolving Door

American Primacy On The Menu For Big Industry Donors At CNAS

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a foreign policy think tank with at least 16 alumni in the Biden administration, has repeatedly published reports that directly promote the interests of its donors — including defense contractors, fossil fuel companies, and foreign governments — without disclosing their support. These conflicts of interest raise larger questions about what CNAS’ core philosophy of “extending American power” truly means.

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 11, 2021 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Financial RegulationIndependent Agencies

The Trump Holdovers Biden Still Needs to Fire

Throughout several decades in the Senate, Joe Biden earned a reputation as an institutionalist. Extraordinary circumstances, however, are pushing the new president to cast aside many of his beloved norms when they fail to account for these exceptional times. In just a few short weeks, Biden has removed officials whose predecessors had never before been fired. And faced with predictable Republican obstruction on his signature pandemic response bill, he’s eschewed endless waiting for compromise in favor of budget reconciliation.

February 04, 2021 | American Prospect

Dorothy Slater Max Moran Timi Iwayemi

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionClimateDepartment of JusticeFinancial RegulationFintech

Even After The Cabinet Selections, Personnel Is Policy

As grinding as the cabinet fights have been, they’re only the first wave of the Biden administration’s personnel. Now comes a new stage of the transition, in which the newly-named secretaries choose their own undersecretaries and senior advisers. Although occupants of these positions typically operate outside the national spotlight, they still wield enormous power.

February 01, 2021 | The Intercept

Max Moran Timi Iwayemi

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionFinancial RegulationFintech

Robinhood Is A Perfect Example Of Fintech's Insidious Power

Fintech is neither inherently good nor bad; rather, like any technology, its potential impact on society is closely tied to the policy decisions guiding its use — and the next four years could define how much the fintech industry is able to shape the financial system. Left to their own devices, fintech firms could swindle average people through ill-advised day-trading or high-interest loans, usher new systemic risks into the financial system, and develop traceable, privately owned currencies with the potential to replace cash.

January 22, 2021 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionIndependent Agencies

The Chopra Gambit

On Monday, President Biden announced his intention to name Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s next director, earning a rare, unqualified cheer from the party’s left flank. Despite serving in the minority on the FTC, Chopra has managed to have a ground-shaking impact, earning a reputation for skillful and creative maneuvering. It is encouraging to see his dogged work for the public interest rewarded and the CFPB land in such capable hands. Just elevating Chopra, however, is not enough. If Democrats are serious about good governance and building their party’s power, they must look to the institutional features that provided Chopra with a platform and honed his governing skills so that, moving forward, he is not such a lonely figure.

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 13, 2021 | The American Prospect

Miranda Litwak Molly Coleman

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionBigLawDepartment of JusticeExecutive BranchRevolving Door

Biden Must Close the Revolving Door Between BigLaw and Government

Biden framed his campaign as “Scranton vs. Park Avenue,” promising an end to corporate government. But in order to do that, Biden must seal the revolving door between corporate law firms and the federal government. There is no shortage of brilliant attorneys who have dedicated their careers to serving the public interest and fighting for social justice who are ready to do that work within the new administration.

December 23, 2020 | The American Prospect

Jeff Hauser Erich Pica

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionClimateEthics in Government

The Most Important Biden Appointee No One Has Heard Of

One role that remains unfilled will be vital to enacting Biden’s policy agenda: the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Although many Americans have never heard of OIRA, the office is well known among corporate lobbyists, who take full advantage of its ability to stop regulations in their tracks. Since the Reagan administration, OIRA has earned a reputation as “the death row of well-meaning legislation.”

December 23, 2020 | The Daily Beast

Eleanor Eagan Mariama Eversley

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionEthics in Government

Biden Team’s Looming NatSec Conflicts Spell Trouble

In January of 1961, President Eisenhower warned the nation of the union between the mushrooming arms industry and the Department of Defense. The military-industrial complex, as he put it, would imperil democracy and put the defense industry in the driver’s seat of the nation’s foreign and domestic policy. And now, Joe Biden, with his early foreign policy and defense picks, has made some choices that are emblematic of a conflict of interest-laden status quo for which there is no constituency (at least not one that isn’t on the payroll).

December 11, 2020 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionIndependent Agencies

Mitch McConnell’s Sudden Interest in Independent Agencies

It’s December, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is still dodging calls to explicitly acknowledge that President Trump lost the election. It’s clear, however, that he knows who the next president will be. True to form, he’s working hard to undermine Joe Biden by confirming Trump’s nominees to independent agencies in the final days. This could shut down Biden’s ability to influence critical agencies’ composition for months, if not years, with severe consequences for regulatory enforcement and new rulemaking.