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April 29, 2020
Amazon Won’t Play Fair In Commerce Or Congress
Last week, the Wall Street Journal revealed that contrary to stated company policies, Amazon looks at proprietary information generated for third-party sellers on the platform when developing its house-brand offerings. Cases described to the Journal include Amazon engineers peeking at the total sales, profit margins, and shipping costs for a popular third-party car trunk organizer which sells on Amazon Marketplace. Amazon later used that data to help design its own, rival product. Third-party sellers have long believed that Amazon wasn’t looking at this information because…Amazon said it wasn’t looking at this information. Instead, the tech giant’s control of both the Marketplace and its own house brands grants it an anti-competitive advantage over smaller sellers who depend on Amazon’s marketplace to survive. They can’t check all of their competitors’ stats on a whim to figure out how to drive them out of business.
April 28, 2020
The SBA Was Never Prepared to Handle This
Many Americans might not have heard of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) before COVID-19. In fact, the small executive agency has been involved in the federal government’s response to some of the largest economic crises and natural disasters over the past two decades. This time around, the SBA has been thrust front and center as it attempts to administer one of the largest loan programs in our nation’s history. But if our Congressional leaders had spent time understanding the SBA’s limitations, perhaps they would have paused before giving the agency free rein to hand out billions of taxpayer dollars.
April 28, 2020
In Interview, Donna Shalala Does Nothing to Alleviate Progressives' Concerns
Nancy Pelosi shocked onlookers earlier this month when she named freshman Representative Donna Shalala (D-FL) to the CARES Act oversight panel. Shalala had not expressed interest in the position publicly, nor does she possess specialized expertise in financial policy, congressional oversight, or law enforcement. Pelosi’s choice discouraged those holding out hope that a spirited set of appointees could somewhat overcome the panel’s structural disadvantages.
April 28, 2020
Ted Kaufman Hates The Revolving Door. Now He Must Do Something About It.
If he truly cannot stand the conflicts of interest, revolving doors, and regulatory capture of Washington, then he currently holds perhaps the single most powerful job to do something about it.
April 15, 2020
Freshman Legislators Advance a Courageous Plan to Address Economic Fragility
This crisis has shattered any illusions that our post-financial crisis framework is resilient enough to withstand the challenges of the future. Coronavirus has, in particular, uncovered one of our most fundamental, persistent weaknesses: our continued inability to anticipate and prepare for new financial risks. For this ill-preparedness, we have powerful actors like BlackRock, the asset management giant and political titan, to thank. In an effort to avoid more stringent regulation, BlackRock and others not only evaded scrutiny for their own contributions to systemic risk, but virtually destroyed the mechanisms designed to examine such risk across the wider economy.
April 14, 2020
Facebook Picks Up Senior FTC Official To Undermine Her Former Employees
The Covid-19 pandemic is creating ripe conditions for corporate acquisition sprees by industry giants. But at least one company, already under the microscope, isn’t just looking to pick off competitors. Facebook has its eyes on the supposed cops on this beat, the antitrust enforcement officials ready to jump ship.
April 08, 2020
BigLaw Jobs Are The Most Popular Next Step For Ex-FTC Antitrust Lawyers
A slim majority of individuals whom we could identify, and a strong plurality of the overall data set, have revolved into corporate law firms where they defend clients in the sorts of investigations and approval processes which they themselves used to administer.
April 07, 2020
March 2020 Update on the State of Independent Federal Agencies
The federal government’s 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 03, 2020
Which Bailed Out Industries Have a Shortcut to Biden World?
For the reality-based, Trump’s indifference to the tragedy that the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 are spreading across the country might be maddening but not surprising. Trump downplaying the severity of the crisis, tweeting nonsense, and pushing for a $500 billion corporate bailout are entirely on brand.
March 24, 2020
SEC Must Build Public Trust in Government by Policing Federal Officials’ Crisis Profiteering
Amidst an economy-crashing pandemic, several Senators appear to be more concerned with their stock portfolios than with the well-being of their constituents or with their Senatorial responsibility to offer a solution. Sadly, this will almost certainly not be the only instance of crisis profiteering during the coronavirus outbreak.
March 20, 2020 | Center for Economic and Policy Research
Trump Stimulus Plan: Still Getting Everything Wrong
Donald Trump has consistently been failing the country in dealing with the coronavirus. Due to Trump’s failed public health response, even his treasury secretary acknowledges that we are facing the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. This is in addition to the prospect of tens of millions of people getting the coronavirus and hundreds of thousands, or even millions, dying.
March 16, 2020
The sheer weight of executive branch incompetence, that has led to an entirely uncontained pandemic in the United States, borders on the incomprehensible. Yet, here we are. The question is whether the federal government has meaningful tools available to turn a terrible situation into one that is meaningfully less terrible. The good news is that many useful ideas exist. Here is a partial list of ideas to help inform the policy conversation as we move forward.
March 11, 2020
The COVID-19 coronavirus is a public health emergency unlike any the United States has faced in decades, but it is also one which the federal government has tools to counter. Unfortunately, the Trump administration is wielding those tools.
March 09, 2020
Maxine Waters Highlights Wells Fargo’s Trump Administration Accomplices
The way our financial regulatory system is constructed means that true accountability for Wells Fargo cannot ultimately flow from the committee hall. Instead, it must come from the cabinet departments and federal agencies which hold the power to prosecute, fine, and regulate our big banks.