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November 13, 2020

Andrea Beaty

Blog Post

Anti-MonopolyClimateRevolving Door

Economists-For-Hire Help Monopolists And Big Oil Both

On Wednesday, The New York Times exposed that a network of seemingly-grassroots campaigns to promote the use of fossil fuels was actually organized by FTI Consulting, a dystopic corporate consulting firm working on behalf of oil and gas behemoths like ExxonMobil. The Times also implicates an FTI subsidiary, Compass Lexecon, in producing academic reports to support these astroturfed campaigns’ talking points. Compass Lexecon employees wrote reports criticizing activist shareholders and university divestment campaigns, tactics often used by the environmental activists FTI was paid to undermine.

November 06, 2020

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionAdministrative Law

No, Mitch McConnell is Not the 46th President

A false narrative, undergirded by self interest and misguided assumptions, is dominating early transition coverage. Key voices are already insisting that Joe Biden’s presidency will fail to deliver on any of its promises. According to this view, with Mitch McConnell in the Senate, Biden will not only be impelled to abandon his legislative vision, but also any hope of delivering for the American people via his power over the executive branch. They say that to wrest confirmations from McConnell’s hands, Biden will have no choice but to appoint moderates who will not rock the boat.

November 05, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionAdministrative Law

Biden Can Still Govern Without the Senate. Here’s How.

Having won more votes than any President in U.S. history, Joe Biden is set to enter the Oval Office with a mandate. However, it looks as though the wave that will have propelled him to the White House may not have been strong enough to break Republican control over the profoundly undemocratic Senate. For at least the next two years, Biden’s legislative agenda will face a formidable breakwater in the form of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. There is little doubt that McConnell will attempt to extend his stranglehold on action to the executive branch as well, by denying the President many, if not all, Senate confirmations.

November 02, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

October 2020 Update on the State of Independent Federal Agencies

Over the past several years, President Trump’s assault on governing norms, from his refusal to reveal information about his finances to his glee in firing those who are not sufficiently loyal to him, has sparked public outcry. One set of norm violations, however, has received relatively little attention from the media or from Senate Democrats. Quietly Trump and Mitch McConnell have undermined independent agencies’ functionality by slow-walking minority party nominations. And, in particular, they have undermined the norm of statutorily-mandated political balance on many independent agency boards in a move that could keep regulatory power in Republican hands for years after Trump leaves office.

October 23, 2020

Timi Iwayemi

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionTrade Policy

Breaking With the Trade Consensus

Over the past decades, U.S. trade policies have primarily served the interests of corporate America. The result? The American worker experienced few if any of the promised benefits of globalization. President Trump seized upon this in his bid for the Presidency in 2016, but his declaration of China as an enemy and ill-advised trade war have only widened the trade deficit he vowed to close. The data show that the trade deficit reached $67 billion in August, its highest level since August 2006. More so, job growth in the manufacturing sector has been on decline since before the pandemic. Indeed, the current deficit in manufactured goods, $84 billion, is the largest on record with data starting in 1992.

October 21, 2020

Miranda Litwak

Blog Post

2020 Election/Transition

The Fed’s Neglect of State and Local Governments Will Cost Us

Last week, the Congressional Oversight Commission — charged with overseeing $500 billion in federal coronavirus aid — finally published its fifth report. Disagreements between Republican and Democratic commissioners delayed its release. The Commission described in detail the blatant prioritization of Wall Street over everyday Americans of Jerome Powell’s Fed. Here’s what we learned:

October 14, 2020

Jeff Hauser Timi Iwayemi Miranda Litwak Pete Sikora

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimate

How Biden's Treasury Department Could Fight Climate Change

The fossil fuel industry depends on financial institutions to survive. And banks, for their part, pull in big profits from underwriting climate disaster. That’s why, if Joe Biden wins in November, his pick for Treasury Secretary must be an aggressive advocate for climate action. The Treasury Department has untapped capacity to push financial institutions and insurance companies to take the risks of the climate crisis seriously. While his legislative proposals elicit proper close scrutiny, his choice of Treasury Secretary is arguably among Biden’s most important climate policy decisions.

September 17, 2020

Timi Iwayemi Miranda Litwak

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionForeign Policy

The Revolving Door Project on Foreign Policy

For too long, American foreign policy decisions have been controlled by the wealthy and well-connected, trampling on the rights and interests of regular people, both at home and abroad. These decisions, including corporate negotiated trade deals and continued engagement in armed conflict abroad, have failed all but a small clique of committed warhawks, defense contractors, and international corporations.

September 08, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

August 2020 Update on the State of Independent Federal Agencies

Over the past several years, President Trump’s assault on governing norms, from his refusal to reveal information about his finances to his glee in firing those who are not sufficiently loyal to him, has sparked public outcry. One set of norm violations, however, has received relatively little attention from the media or from Senate Democrats. Quietly, Trump and Mitch McConnell have undermined independent agencies’ functionality by slow-walking nominations. And, in particular, they have undermined the norm of statutorily-mandated political balance on many independent agency boards in a move that could keep regulatory power in Republican hands for years after Trump leaves office.

August 19, 2020

Max Moran

Blog Post

Climate

The Revolving Door Project On Aggressive Climate Action From The Executive Branch

Incalculable, world-historic pain and suffering are already happening as a result of the climate crisis. Yet the forces of big business responsible — most especially the fossil fuel industry, but also Big Ag, the military-industrial complex, and others — continue to spend tens of millions every year blackmailing American leaders into softballing or even ignoring the literal end of the world as we know it.

August 10, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

July 2020 Update on the State of Independent Federal Agencies

Over the past several years, President Trump’s assault on governing norms, from his refusal to reveal information about his finances to his glee in firing those who are not sufficiently loyal to him, has sparked public outcry. One set of norm violations, however, has received relatively little attention from the media or from Senate Democrats. Quietly, Trump and Mitch McConnell have undermined independent agencies’ functionality by slow-walking nominations. And, in particular, they have undermined the norm of statutorily-mandated political balance on many independent agency boards in a move that could keep regulatory power in Republican hands for years after Trump leaves office.

August 10, 2020

Jeff Hauser Max Moran Andrea Beaty Miranda Litwak

Blog Post

Anti-MonopolyEthics in GovernmentRevolving DoorTech

The Revolving Door Project on Fighting Monopoly Power

Congress and the antitrust enforcement agencies have given unprecedented attention to the monopoly issues surrounding Big Tech in recent months. The scrutiny is one step toward rebalancing our increasingly concentrated economy, especially in the time of COVID-19, when small businesses are struggling to survive and corporations are further entrenching their power. But the problem of economic concentration extends far beyond Big Tech. It defines almost every corner of our economy. With the upcoming election and a potential shift in power, Joe Biden has an opportunity to reduce economic consolidation across the board, using executive branch powers including, but not limited to, reforming the antitrust enforcement agencies.

August 10, 2020

Mariama Eversley

Blog Post

Government Capacity

Why Hasn’t The Trump Administration Released Their Organizational Chart For The Office of Management and Budget?

In more normal times, it was routine to expect administrations to publish the organizational charts of their executive branch agencies. These charts offer transparency, giving the public a glimpse into the inner workings of the complex world of each executive branch agency. These charts also allow the public to understand how governance works and potentially identify which departments require more oversight.