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March 16, 2021

Zena Wolf

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionAnti-Monopoly

Revolver Spotlight: Einer Elhauge

Reports that Harvard Law Professor Einer Elhauge is being considered for a role in the Biden Administration should be treated with extreme caution due to his history of ties to Big Tech and work for the Republican Florida legislature in 2000. Although we at RDP applaud Elhauge’s recent pivot to support strengthening antitrust laws, we urge the Biden Administration to hold appointees to the highest possible standard. In particular, helping promulgate the absurd theory in 2000 that state legislatures can overrule elections conducted under laws they have passed should be disqualifying for any individual attempting to serve in the Biden Administration.

March 10, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateEthics in Government

Biden Ethics Pledge Alone Will Not Insulate the Administration from Conflicts of Interest

On President Biden’s first day in office, he made clear that, after the Trump administration’s fantastically corrupt reign, restoring trust in the federal government’s senior leadership would be a priority. His executive order on ethics, signed within hours of his inauguration, went further than any other towards slowing the revolving door and limiting conflicts of interest while in office. Subsequent appointments make clear, however, that these elevated standards are still not enough. Simply following the letter of the order will leave significant room for conflicts of interest to poison the administration’s actions and public trust.

March 08, 2021

Dorothy Slater Max Moran

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateForeign PolicyPrivate Equity

Attn John Kerry: Mark Gallogly Is Loyal To Profit, Not Climate

John Kerry, President Biden’s international “Climate Envoy”, appears to want bold climate change policy. Kerry was a leader in developing the framework for the first UN climate talks in 1992, co-authored cap-and-trade legislation back in 2009 when it could have possibly been useful, and was a major driver of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

March 05, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

The State of Independent Agency Nominations - Update for March 2021

It has been over a month since President Joe Biden assumed the presidency. So far, thirteen of his Cabinet picks have received Senate confirmation, while the remaining ten who will require it wend their way through the process. In the meantime, the administration continues to announce names for the nearly 4000 other positions it will need to fill. With only a few exceptions, however, picks for one class of appointment — to independent agency boards — have not yet been forthcoming. The Biden administration undoubtedly faces many competing priorities, but these nominations must rise to the top.

February 26, 2021

Elias Alsbergas

Blog Post

BankingExecutive BranchFinancial Regulation

Mark Zandi: The Worst Potential FHFA Regulator You’ve Never Heard Of

Almost every homeowner and most of the American mortgage-backed securities financial system is subject to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) regulation. It oversees and guarantees the vast majority of mortgages bought and sold in the United States. The FHFA does this through quasi-public agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which buy mortgages from local banks that they bundle, chop up, and sell to investors. This arrangement ideally allows local banks to provide more and cheaper loans to potential homeowners by letting them sell their mortgage liabilities to the government, and gives investors access to relatively stable investment returns.

February 19, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionIndependent Agencies

Senate Must Clear Obstacles and Avoid False Tradeoffs

On January 20, Joe Biden was sworn in as the country’s 46th President. It will be months, even years, however, before all of the accompanying members of his administration are in place. With over 4000 positions to fill, the vetting and selection process necessary to stand up a new administration is formidable. Add to that the lengthy road to Senate confirmation for over 1000 of those picks and you have a recipe for dysfunction.

February 17, 2021

Sion Bell

Blog Post

Department of JusticeIndependent Agencies

Neglected US Parole Commission a Crucial Component of Criminal Justice Reform

President Biden has committed his administration to countering economic and racial injustice. One area in which such injustices are notoriously and particularly prevalent is the criminal justice system, a reality all too clear for the millions of currently incarcerated Americans. Numerous studies have demonstrated the effects of systemic racism and classism on likelihood of arrest and imprisonment, but such discrimination also extends to the end of one’s sentence when an individual has the opportunity to begin their reintegration into society.

February 16, 2021

Dorothy Slater Sion Bell

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateFinancial Regulation

How A Little-Known Treasury Position Could Move Mountains For Climate Action

President Biden has promised to take a “whole-of-government” approach to tackling the climate crisis, and so far his appointees appear to be following suit. The National Climate Task Force met for the first time in a crowded zoom room last week, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and International Climate Envoy John Kerry met earlier this month to discuss their “climate finance plan” to shift capital towards investments in line with a low-carbon economy.

February 15, 2021

Jeff Hauser Andrea Beaty

Blog Post

Anti-MonopolyDepartment of Justice

Trump Appointees Still Setting Agenda At Biden’s Antitrust Division

Last week the Biden administration appointed career civil servant Richard Powers as Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (ATR). With the question of who will become Assistant Attorney General still up in the air and their confirmation likely several months away, the direction of the ATR’s enforcement is left in the hands of three top officials.

February 05, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

The State of Independent Agency Nominations - Update for February 2021

It has been just over two weeks since President Joe Biden assumed the presidency. So far, six of his Cabinet picks have received Senate confirmation while the remaining 17 who will require it wend their way through the process. In the meantime, the administration continues to announce names for the nearly 4000 other positions it will need to fill. With only one exception, however, picks for one class of appointment — to independent agency boards — have not yet been forthcoming. The Biden administration undoubtedly faces many competing priorities but these nominations must rise to the top.

February 04, 2021

Sion Bell Miranda Litwak

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionFinancial Regulation

Biden's Newest Treasury Tax Appointees Delight and Disappoint

Some mixed news for progressive tax enthusiasts: Joe Biden’s administration has chosen both a committed progressive tax advocate and a Republican career expert in corporate tax avoidance for its first two appointees to the Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy. We’re now in a strange situation where experts who testified on opposite sides of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will now serve shoulder-to-shoulder.