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June 09, 2021
Donald Trump and his Department of Justice consistently made a mockery of the law throughout his four years in power. And while their laughable reasoning and indefensible positions were struck down at a historic rate, many cases were still waiting for Biden. The new administration tossed out a handful immediately but an alarming number remain, either in some form of pause or advancing forward with the Biden administration adopting Trump’s position.
June 09, 2021
Anyone who’s ever filed a Freedom of Information Act request can tell you that the federal bureaucracy is shockingly opaque despite. This has real consequences for the public’s understanding of what their government actually does every day. Almost all public records requests require watchdogs to specifically identify documents and personnel they are interested in, often without knowing if those documents even exist or if those personnel even still work for the government. This poses a conundrum, however: how can watchdogs know what or whose records to request if they don’t even know who works in a department?
June 07, 2021
Leslie Caldwell, a top corporate criminal defense partner at BigLaw giant Latham & Watkins, is in the running for a U.S. Attorney job under Biden. Her record championing draconian anti-hacking laws and helping big corporations evade accountability for white-collar crimes should preclude her from any role in the Biden administration.
June 01, 2021
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is tasked with ensuring Americans follow tax laws. The IRS not only audits everyday Americans and foreign nationals with US tax liabilities but also maintains the power to investigate wealthy individuals and corporations for tax avoidance or other forms of malfeasance. Despite its crucial role in enforcing federal taxes laws (or, more aptly, because of this role), Republican austerity has systematically dismantled the IRS over the past decade.
May 28, 2021
Progressives have been encouraged by President Biden’s choices of anti-monopoly leadership in Lina Khan, Tim Wu, and (potentially) Jonathan Kanter. But in the interregnum between personnel announcements and actual confirmations, corporations are getting as many transactions done now as possible. And while the Biden Administration seems on the precipice of reining in the power of Big Tech and other monopolists soon, the FTC, one of the two agencies charged with enforcing antitrust law, continues to be hobbled by chronic underfunding.
May 28, 2021
The Arrest-Related Deaths (ARD) program — a federal tracking system to document cases of police homicide amid other manners of death emanating from the arrest process & the police interaction at large — held massive potential to further police oversight goals. Not only does re-establishing the ARD program require no legislation, but a template for a revised ARD program has been underway for over 6 years. The pilot study reconstructing the ARD’s methodology yielded a blueprint mapping out how the relaunched ARD program could operate by a hybrid system of open-source media mining and law enforcement agency surveying. Reactivating the ARD program in its contemporary version is one of the easiest & speediest proposals that the Biden administration & Garland’s DOJ can actualize on the matter of criminal justice reform — so, why aren’t they?
May 21, 2021
Brian Netter, a corporate attorney who represented big business in wage theft cases and litigated against workers who sued companies for mismanaging their retirement funds, was just appointed to the Department of Justice.
May 20, 2021
Policing, anti-black, anti-immigrant, ableist, and capitalist at its core, was designed to be outside of the scope of the law. The deployment of federal law enforcement officers in unmarked vans to abduct and detain Black Lives Matter protestors in Portland, Oregan during last summer’s national uprising over police killings demonstrates the extreme nature of rogue American policing. Police prerogative power, as the expression of the state’s legalized violence to enforce public docility at its will, is embedded in US governance. Couple that with qualified immunity, police contracts & unions, police bill of rights, and whatnot, law enforcement are shielded from disciplinary actions.
May 18, 2021
The Revolving Door Project will be tracking these disclosures and flagging important revelations revealed by the OGE to ensure high level political appointees are not financially beholden to special interests they may regulate in government.
May 17, 2021
Shelanski, Obama’s second OIRA administrator, now represents monopolies like Facebook and Tyson Foods. His regulatory skepticism and disdain for the emerging antitrust movement would make him a disastrous pick for any role in the Biden administration.
May 17, 2021
When choosing the next PTO director, the Biden administration should rule out those who have a history of prioritizing profits and corporate interests over public health and safety. One such individual is Kevin Rhodes, an ally of Big Pharma who has vigorously defended efforts to keep drug prices high. His current employer, 3M, has abused its monopoly on the military earplug market to sell overpriced and faulty products to veterans. This should be immediately disqualifying for any future PTO director. Here are a few of the most alarming aspects of Kevin Rhodes’s career:
May 14, 2021
The NTIA will have an outsized role in ensuring equitable access to broadband during the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes the reports that Biden is considering former telecommunications lobbyist Scott Blake Harris to head the agency deeply alarming.
May 13, 2021
Presidents are only as effective as the administrations they assemble. FDR’s “brain trust,” for example, drove his effective first term. As President Biden seeks to surpass his predecessors’ accomplishments and become the most effective president of the past 60 years, the staff with whom he surrounds himself are essential. For over a thousand members of his team, Senate confirmation stands between them and the critical task ahead, making it crucial that Biden quickly make nominations to get these senior leaders working towards his vision as soon as possible. As the traditional post-New Deal metric of how a young administration is performing, the 100th day in office is a chance to look back on the Biden administration’s progress thus far and compare it to the Obama administration.
May 13, 2021
Representatives of corporate interests often twist the spirit and the intent behind calls for ethics in government. Under the guise of keeping lobbyists out of an administration, big business rails against even the suggestion that working people get a voice in government. They do this by falsely conflating public interest lobbyists and corporate lobbyists.