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September 18, 2019 | The American Prospect
Surprisingly Good News at the Consumer Product Safety Commission
Despite the fact that this administration has generally shown nothing but contempt for the public interest, revelations earlier this year about the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s failure to take action to protect the lives of infants and children still stood out. Last week, however, one of its members set herself apart for a different reason: Outgoing Acting Chair Ann Marie Buerkle appears to have been afflicted by a rare case of a conscience. In a highly unusual move, she voted for a Democratic commissioner to succeed her as acting chair.
September 11, 2019 | The Daily Beast
Trump’s Going to Manipulate the Government to Stay in Power
The power of an incumbent president to aid re-election by abusing the executive branch has in the past been limited by a few powerful forces: Presidential integrity; the fear of a scandal emerging in the media; and the prospect of aggressive congressional oversight.
Due to forces outside their control, the Democratic nominee won’t be saved by the first two “norms based” options. And as a result of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s strategy of not “focusing on Trump,” the president has every reason to scoff at the prospect of aggressive congressional oversight, up to and including a genuine “go big” effort at impeachment.
September 10, 2019 | The American Prospect
Google Is Like Facebook — But a Lot Smarter
Big Tech is facing an overdue crisis, but not all Big Tech companies are created equal. It’s useful to compare and contrast two of the biggest players at the center of these investigations: Facebook and Google.
Both have received constant negative press for the last few years, ranging from the stories on the Cambridge Analytica bombshell to Google’s non-stop internal chaos. Both received slaps on the wrist from the Federal Trade Commission, but both are now facing federal and state-level antitrust investigations.
Yet only one has become a full-blown bad guy to the Democratic party.
August 29, 2019 | The Daily Beast
2020 Dems Must Use Trump’s Incompetence Against Him
We tend to forget this as we watch the daily madness of the Trump presidency, but a president’s principal role is to run the executive branch. Above all, that consists of appointing personnel to thousands of roles across the administration and laying out a vision that inspires and drives that army of appointees towards common ends.
Thus, when Donald Trump assails Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell (his own pick) as incompetent and/or malevolent in executing his critical role in helping manage the United States economy, he is unquestionably attacking his own judgment and fitness for office.
July 30, 2019 | BuzzFeed News
Mayor Pete Is Silicon Valley's Hottest New Startup
You might think Big Tech is facing an existential reckoning in Washington, based on recent congressional hearings with Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google. Add in Facebook’s $5 billion Federal Trade Commission settlement and the Trump administration pursuing antitrust inquiries into Big Tech while “looking into” Peter Thiel’s accusation that Google has been treasonously collaborating with China and it begins to sound consequential.
But if you look elsewhere — to the fundraising totals released by presidential candidates this month, and perhaps even to this week’s presidential debates — you can glimpse the seeds of the industry’s political revival.
July 28, 2019 | The Daily Beast
Facebook and Equifax Scammed Customers — and Revolving-Door Corporate Lawyers Made Sure They Got Off Easy
Last week, the Federal Trade Commission made clear that dishonestly undermining Americans’ privacy can remain a part of a successful corporation’s business plan. The commission closed its investigations into the two most prominent corporate data breaches in recent memory. The Equifax hack and Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal investigations have yielded back-to-back out-of-court settlements that are all bark, no bite.
July 22, 2019 | The American Prospect
The SEC Remains a Secondary Concern to Chuck Schumer
Already furious that Democrats aren’t standing up for themselves and the people who depend on them? Then … this article isn’t for you. Because we’re going to tell you about a seemingly inside baseball—but in fact quite consequential—way in which Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer continues to be out-hustled by both Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
June 25, 2019 | The American Prospect
Do Pete Buttigieg’s Donors Know Him Better Than We Do?
In a field of 24 candidates, Democratic presidential hopefuls must attempt to stand out from the crowd, and Pete Buttigieg is no different. He foregrounds his personal story, relative youth, and roots in the country’s geographic center to pitch voters on a generational departure. “Such a moment calls for hopeful and audacious voices from communities like ours,” Buttigieg said in his announcement speech. “And yes, it calls for a new generation of leadership.”
May 29, 2019 | The American Prospect
Commissioner’s Exit Would Leave the SEC Without a Democrat
Securities and Exchange Commissioner Robert Jackson might be leaving office in the coming months—well before he would be required to by law. The public was first made aware of this possibility when his name showed up on a list of people who would be teaching courses at NYU Law School this fall. Remarkably, Jackson has not issued a statement clarifying the situation and making it known if or when he plans to depart—and whether he might leave the SEC with just one, or even zero, Democratic commissioners.
May 24, 2019 | BuzzFeed News
Corruption Needs To Be A Kitchen Table Issue In 2020. Start With Betsy DeVos
With the debate over impeachment raging, everyone from Nancy Pelosi to a wide swath of freshman Democrats is making a distinction between Congress working on oversight of the Trump administration, and Congress focusing on so-called kitchen table issues — things that make a real difference to people’s everyday lives. Don’t let one eat up precious time that could be spent on the other, so the argument goes.
April 24, 2019 | Washington Monthly
House Democrats Are Failing to Investigate the White House
The Mueller report is a chronicle of corruption. It outlines attempted collusion between Trump’s closest advisors, including his son and campaign chairman, and the Russian government. It shows that Trump routinely lied about his actions and asked those around him to lie on his behalf. It details a president who told his subordinates to end the entire investigation. The report is especially astonishing given that it didn’t even touch on Trump’s many other potential crimes. From his brazen violations of the Emoluments Clause to his decision to steal emergency funds for his border wall, Trump has been a threat to the rule of law since the moment he was inaugurated.
April 04, 2019 | BuzzFeed News
Mayor Pete Understands Norwegian. Does He Understand The Presidency?
In a matter of weeks Pete Buttigieg rose from relative obscurity to national prominence. A successful CNN town hall in early March launched him into the 2020 conversation, and an impressive first quarter fundraising haul made clear he is a serious candidate. His youth, charisma, and dizzying ascent have some thinking he’s a top contender to inherit Barack Obama’s mantle.
We worry that Jimmy Carter might be the more apt comparison.
April 01, 2019 | InsideSources
Warren’s American Plan to Rein in Tech Monopolists
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s technology platform reflects a common sense populist rejoinder to the failed bipartisan antitrust consensus. If big corporations elbow the little guy, there is probably a rational reason for their corporate violence and it probably isn’t to benefit consumers or the broader economy. (Unless, of course, you like having your data stolen and traded like a commodity, believe start-ups should have no aspiration other than to be absorbed by a bigger company, or think small business is un-American and passe.)
March 18, 2019 | The Hill
Boeing Debacle Shows Need to Investigate Trump-era Corruption
Once considered the “world’s gold standard for aircraft safety,” the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was conspicuously slower than the rest of the world to take appropriate action after a tragic airline crash in Ethiopia credibly called into question the safety of the Boeing 737 Max 8.
March 13, 2019 | The American Prospect
Richie Neal and Trump’s Taxes
As most House Democrats enthusiastically jump on the long-dormant congressional oversight train, one senior lawmaker has conspicuously chosen to stay on the platform. Under the leadership of Representative Richard Neal, the House Committee on Ways and Means has shown none of the zeal for oversight exhibited by its counterparts.