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January 22, 2021

Miranda Litwak Andrea Beaty

Blog Post

Anti-MonopolyBigLaw

Right-Wing “Holding Pen” Firm May Snag Antitrust Division If Susan Davies Is Appointed

In a disappointing continuation from the Trump Administration, Politico reported last week that a Kirkland & Ellis lawyer is in contention to help lead the Department of Justice, raising serious concerns among anti-monopoly advocates. According to the article, Susan Davies, a litigation partner at Kirkland, might be the next assistant attorney general for antitrust.

January 22, 2021

Andrea Beaty Miranda Litwak

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionAnti-MonopolyTech

Big Tech’s Top Picks to Lead DOJ Antitrust Division

Big Tech has a huge stake in who Biden ultimately staffs his antitrust and tech regulators. These individuals will decide how aggressively to carry out Biden’s promises of reining in the political and market power of these companies. If Big Tech gets its way, Biden will staff his antitrust teams with its attorneys and allies, who have pushed back against calls to break up these monopolies and protected them against regulation and enforcement. But if Biden wants to keep his campaign promises to take on monopolies, he must shut the revolving door between the federal government and Big Tech. That starts by rejecting for top jobs the following Big Tech allies.

January 22, 2021

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionFinancial Regulation

Potential Comptroller of the Currency Mehrsa Baradaran’s Background

Baradaran seems committed to challenging the status quo of our financial system that sidelines poor and marginalized communities. The OCC has long been part of a banking system that reinforces racial injustice rather than addresses it — and that remained largely true even after Dodd-Frank was passed and implemented by Obama’s regulatory team. Voices like Baradaran’s are valuable in reconsidering financial regulation and helping raise the bar for who is and who is not an adequately zealous regulator.

January 21, 2021

Timi Iwayemi

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionFintechOCCTech

Michael Barr's Past And Present Raise Deep Concerns If Appointed

If appointed to Biden’s OCC, Barr will confront one major new question for the primary federal regulator of banks: how to handle the emergent “fintech” industry of lending and payments apps. Disturbingly, Barr’s history advising and investing in the fintech industry suggests an approach similar to Trump’s own fintech-friendly stooge, former acting Comptroller Brian Brooks.

January 21, 2021

Dorothy Slater

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateFinancial Regulation

Why the Comptroller of the Currency Must Be a Climate Leader

The OCC could also update the Comptroller’s Handbook to guide bank examiners to measure climate risk in their assessments, which would force banks to measure climate risk in their own internal stress tests. This would also push banks to make environmentally sound decisions, because they would be recontextualized as financially savvy decisions.

January 21, 2021

Ella Fanger Sion Bell

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionEthics in GovernmentGovernment Capacity

To Build Back Better, Biden Must Fix Government

Yesterday, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. President Biden has promised to build back a better America, but he faces a steep climb to reach this lofty goal. The nation is still reeling from an ongoing pandemic and recession, and the government has had to cope with massive shocks to the civil service, morale, and its basic functions during the Trump administration. To make good on his promise, Biden will need to undo the damage from Trump and decades of right-wing actions to undermine governance.

January 12, 2021

Elias Alsbergas

Blog Post

Ethics in Government

Gary Cohn, IBM, And A Tale As Old As Time

Amidst renewed furor to impeach Trump and expel Members of Congress for supporting the right wing Capitol Insurrection, more typical elite corruption goes without comment. IBM announced in January that Gary Cohn, Trump’s former head of the National Economic Council, would be appointed vice-chairman. Despite announcements that some corporations and lobbyists mulled temporarily suspending donations to Republicans inciting riots and IBM’s claim to support black lives, their announcement reveals the lie: Corporate America has no problem bringing high-level Trump appointees back into their elite fold.

January 12, 2021

Mariama Eversley

Blog Post

Government Capacity

Schedule F Still Poses a Grave Threat to the Civil Service

From the moment President Trump took office, he has been on a warpath with the civil service. He and his associates have waged an open war (and likely one behind closed doors as well) to seize control over federal employees just out of reach of easy firing. In October, as his presidency appeared rapidly to be approaching its end, he lobbed a bomb at the civil service system.

January 12, 2021

Zena Wolf

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionForeign PolicyGovernment Capacity

With Bill Burns At CIA, A Hopeful Move Toward Civil Service Revitalization

At the Revolving Door Project, we have frequently emphasized the importance of strengthening the civil service to ensure government works for public service and doesn’t cater to the interest of powerful people and corporations. We warned about how too much reliance on political appointments in the executive branch reduces accountability, citing academic research that political appointees perform worse than career managers. Especially in the Trump era, we have seen numerous examples of political appointees using the government for personal gain. Biden’s selection of William Burns, a career diplomat, as his CIA director should therefore be widely praised by progressives as a step towards restoring the civil service and depoliticizing the American intelligence community.

January 12, 2021

Dorothy Slater Max Moran

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionFinancial Regulation

Gary Gensler Would Lead An Un-Captured SEC To New Climate Regs

Gensler’s first order of business at the SEC will be to reverse Trump’s deregulatory agenda and rebuild the agency’s capacity to police American stock-trading. But this should only be a starting point: SEC activity was insufficient even under Obama, and issues linked to the financial system, from climate change to inequality, have worsened in the four intervening years.