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January 10, 2019 | Rewire
It’s Time for Congress’ New Members to Use Their Long-Forgotten Oversight Powers
The dozens of newly elected Congressional Democrats sworn in last week are getting a lot of much-deserved attention. They are a diverse group who represent a wide variety of districts, but they are united by a common dilemma—how can junior members of a party that lacks control of the U.S. Senate or presidency make their mark with legislation?
Barring miracles, the sad fact is that over the next two years, they cannot.
November 17, 2018 | The Hill
Dems Must Wield Power Against the Powerful to Win Back Rural America
Much of the commentary surrounding the midterm elections focuses on the divide between increasingly Democratic metropolitan areas and increasingly intensely Republican rural and small-town America.
Some pundits and former elected officials claim an emphasis on “the opioid crisis” and rural economic development policy proposals can address Democrats’ weaknesses in areas with disproportionate power in the Senate.
November 13, 2018
How Goldman Sachs Still Holds Sway at SEC
With the departures of Gary Cohn, Steve Bannon, and Dina Powell from the White House, has Goldman Sachs’ initial influence on the Trump Administration dwindled?
CNN asked that question this spring, noting that “one by one, almost all the high-profile Goldman Sachs alums have left the White House.” But as CNN, to its credit, also noted that while who is up and who is down in the Trump White House changes, leadership at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been more stable — and Goldman Sachs’ former lawyer, Chairman Jay Clayton, runs that key agency.
November 05, 2018
Building An Agency Tracker to Monitor Government Appointments
The Independent Federal Agencies Leadership Tracker monitors appointments to agency leadership positions through the confirmation process and beyond. The initiative is part of the Revolving Door Project’s effort to even the playing field by empowering ordinary people with information previously hoarded by special interest groups.
November 02, 2018
Want Transparent Government? Answer These Questions
At first glance, the contentious Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process and the Trump Administration’s response to the apparent brutal assassination of Jamal Khashoggi have very little in common. But there is one disturbing commonality — a shocking lack of transparency into the motivations of key players.
October 17, 2018 | Rewire.News
To Win, Democrats Must Focus on Accountability
Many election analyses in the Trump era pose false choices for Democrats seeking to gain control of the U.S. Congress. That’s especially true in the abundant category of commentary and analysis asking: “What should Democrats do?”
Consider some of the classics of the “advice” genre: “Democrats should focus on health care, not Russia” or, “Trump’s appeal was based on economics, not racism.”
July 30, 2018 | The Daily Beast
Wanna Beat Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee? Focus on Marijuana
What if I were to tell you that there is a political issue that galvanizes young voters? An issue that unites libertarians, independents, and African-Americans? An issue with bipartisan power, that works not only in cities, but has demonstrated strength in red states like Kentucky and West Virginia?
It’s an issue likely to generate cases to be heard by the Supreme Court in the next decade and one on which the Trump administration’s leading law enforcement official—Attorney General Jeff Sessions—is already on the losing side politically.
July 27, 2018 | American Constitution Society Blog
Trump-Russia Issue Helps Highlight Exactly What’s At Stake In Kavanaugh Fight
The most important battleground of the Kavanaugh confirmation fight is not a specific issue, but whether people pay attention to the nomination itself. To some, the focus on Trump and Russia is a distraction from the Supreme Court fight. But, in reality, the focus on Trump and Russia helps highlight exactly what’s at stake in this fight.
June 19, 2018 | The Hill
Dems Must Stop Picking Foxes to Guard the Financial Hen House
In May, the Revolving Door Project and over 30 other organizations urged Senate Democrats to push for strong progressives for the leadership positions at key financial agencies allocated to Democrats.
In the not too distant past, Democrats appointed revolving-door figures to these agencies little different than Republican nominees.
Democrats now have a chance to demonstrate that they have become the party of the people by whom they choose for open leadership positions at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
May 22, 2018 | BuzzFlash
Trump's Federal Trade Commission Pick Has a History of Advising Corporations He Will Now Regulate
Only in a world in which the head of the Environmental Protection Agency treats the environment like an enemy of his family does the latest news from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) make any semblance of sense.
On May 16, Trump’s handpicked FTC Chairman Joseph Simons and his fellow Republican commissioners installed revolving door veteran Andrew Smith to a senior leadership position at the FTC. Smith, who has spent several years specializing in advising firms which harm consumers, will now run the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
May 16, 2018 | Rewire
Trump’s Corruption: The Single Most Important—and Neglected—Campaign Issue of 2018
From cable news to social media, from the NFL to Kanye West’s Twitter feed — people spend an enormous amount of time discussing President Donald Trump. Oddly, the only people not spending much time discussing Trump — his corruption, his malfeasance, his lack of fitness for office — are the ones who have the most invested in publicizing Trump’s blatant corruption: the Democrats. As evidenced by recent national security news, Trump’s corruption poses a clear and present danger to your wallet, your economic future, and the health and well-being of the planet. And yet somehow, the Democrats are failing to connect the dots.
March 25, 2018 | The Hill
17 Senate Dems Broke their Contracts with their Voters
“Trump in power constitutes a crisis for America, and the opposition must be unified!” That’s been the cry from the Democratic party establishment since the presidential election of 2016.
As calls for unity go, this one is unusually justifiable, imperative, in fact. But the Democratic establishment broke faith with its own credo in the past few weeks, even as the benefits of a unified effort against Trump and the Republicans became clear in the congressional election that delivered a victory to Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania.
March 14, 2018 | Slate
How Jeff Sessions Is Sneaking Trump Allies Into Key DOJ Positions That Normally Require Senate Confirmation
From investigating money laundering to enforcing America’s drug laws, U.S. attorneys possess a considerable amount of discretion in how to allocate the Department of Justice’s scarce law enforcement resources. Each of the 93 U.S. attorneys has the ability to make prosecutions of various federal statutes more or less likely and sentencing for any violations more or less draconian.
March 09, 2018 | The Baffler
The Do-Nothing Discipline
In November 2008, most Americans acknowledged George W. Bush’s presidency as a failure. The Republican Party, unquestionably complicit in that failure, was down for the count; Barack Obama defeated Republican John McCain, a popular war hero, decisively. Conservatism itself seemed rocked on its heels, perhaps for good. When recently inaugurated President Obama delivered an address to a joint session of Congress to tout his $787 billion stimulus package, just 8 percent of TV viewers said they disapproved of Obama’s performance. By sharp contrast, “rising star” Republican Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana delivered a lackluster response, which featured an attack on a $140 million outlay for “something called ‘volcano monitoring’”—just a month before a volcanic eruption sent a sixty-thousand-foot cloud of ash over Alaska. Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks called Jindal’s “stale, government-is-the-problem” ideology “a disaster for the Republican Party.”
January 25, 2018
Revolving Door Project’s Director Jeff Hauser Reacts to Potential IRS Commissioner Nomination
The Revolving Door Project, with the support of a host of organizations interested in promoting good government (listed below), has for several months been shining a light on the importance of the IRS being run by either a Senate confirmed head or a career staffer. This effort has included sending letters to key congressional committees, the Treasury Department, and Inspectors General in December. Politico reported Tuesday that the Trump Administration has finally identified an IRS Commissioner to replace John Koskinen, who departed at the end of his term two and a half months ago. While it is far too soon to say if Charles Rettig is a good choice, it has been clear since David Kautter’s second job was announced that it is deeply inappropriate for a political appointee like Kautter to serve both as Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy as well as Acting Commissioner of the IRS.