Corporate Crackdown

WHY A CORPORATE CRACKDOWN?

Since early 2022, we at Revolving Door Project have been calling for a Corporate Crackdown—that is, a coordinated executive branch effort to crack down on corporate wrongdoing using regulations already on the books, picking visible fights with corporate villains who are extracting money from the masses and making the planet unlivable.  

As we’ve argued, it would be both good governance and good politics for the Biden administration to prioritize a Corporate Crackdown. It should be the role of the government, and particularly public servants in the executive branch, to protect the public against corporate abuses—that is the responsibility they have been entrusted with in a democratic society. 

Focusing on a Corporate Crackdown is also good politics. People know that corporations and the wealthy are taking advantage of them without being held accountable. Our polling research, along with numerous polls by other outlets, shows that a majority of US voters across party lines support more corporate enforcement actions by the Biden administration, and believe corporations and the wealthy get away with wrongdoing too often. 

Whether it’s Big Pharma lining their pockets by hiking prescription drug prices, corporate landlords raising rents in the midst of a housing crisis, or fossil fuel companies price-gouging at the fuel pump while polluting and driving climate catastrophes with impunity, the impacts of corporate wrongdoing are hitting us every day, in every aspect of our lives, and people are fed up. The admirable campaign against junk fees is a terrific opening move in such a campaign–but it isn’t a complete campaign on its own.

The Biden administration must seize on this widespread anger and frustration by placing itself firmly on the side of workers and regular people, in clear opposition to the far too numerous bad actors among the corporate class. 

We’ve made this argument in outlets including Newsweek and The New Republic, giving specific examples of corporate villains like the notorious chief economist of software company RealPage, known for helping landlords price-gouge renters. We’re never short of ideas for other arenas where the Biden administration can build on their solid antitrust track record by challenging corporate power across sectors—defending the public and getting credit for populist governance at the same time.  

Other past Corporate Crackdown efforts include:

  • Conducting polling, which demonstrated broad, bipartisan belief that corporations and the wealthy get away with breaking the law unpunished, and high levels of support for cracking down on this wrongdoing; 
  • Issuing reports, prominently our Climate Corporate Crackdown report, that outline what a whole of government approach to using existing regulation to interrupt corporate misdeeds would look like; and 
  • Publishing regular newsletters and pieces in other outlets pointing out opportunities for the executive branch to take action in mitigating the impact of corporate exploitation on the public.

Follow upcoming work in our Corporate Crackdown portfolio here. We bring this lens to core areas of Revolving Door Project’s work, including tracking corporate influence over climate policy, financial regulation, and law enforcement at the Department of Justice, and scrutinizing Biden and his appointees’ messaging and priorities heading into election season. 

KEY WORK AREAS

  • CLIMATE JUSTICE. The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, among others agencies, must use existing protections to hold oil and gas companies accountable when they cause spills, leaks, and otherwise pollute our water and air, while  contributing to catastrophic climate change. 
  • FINANCIAL REGULATION. The SEC, CFTC, CFPB, and FTC, among other federal units, must avoid being taken in by financial institutions’ insistence that lifelong bankers and corporate executives have supernatural levels of expertise and are above reproach. Whether it’s holding crypto grifters accountable for conning consumers or shaming companies who skirt safety regulations relevant to their products, these agencies must live up to their mandate in defending the public from extractive, profit-hungry corporations.

  • DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. As white-collar law enforcement has fallen to record lows, we are calling on the law enforcement arm of the federal government to step up to the challenge of going after powerful law-breakers. The Justice Department has enormous power to hold elites accountable under both civil and criminal law. It’s about time that the Justice Department prioritize society’s most powerful breakers of laws, be the laws civil or criminal.

June 05, 2024 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter

KJ Boyle

Newsletter 2024 ElectionCorporate Crackdown

Trump Is The Corporate Convict Candidate

Trump now holds the unique honor of being the first United States president convicted of a felony. This is a golden opportunity for the Biden campaign to highlight the glaring distinction between the candidates: Trump is a corporate criminal hellbent on using the presidency to further the interests of himself and other corporate criminals. President Biden has leveraged executive branch power to dismantle criminal practices that pad the pockets of corporations. After some initial hesitancy to touch on Trump’s conviction, Biden rightly appears poised to make this a forefront issue in the campaign.

June 04, 2024

Andrea Beaty Vishal Shankar

Press Release

Corporate CrackdownDepartment of JusticeHousing

RELEASE: Justice’s Raid of Cortland Management Hopefully Foretells an Energized Crackdown on Price-Fixing

The DOJ’s raid on Cortland is an encouraging sign that the Biden administration is taking the threat of price-fixing in the rental market seriously. While President Biden’s housing platform is focused on the ever-important housing supply issue, increasing supply alone will not decrease rents when large swaths of the market are colluding instead of competing. Biden must call out corporations like RealPage and Cortland and their senior executives by name for their apparent rent-gouging and leaving American families in desperate straits.

May 15, 2024 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter

Andrea Beaty Jeff Hauser

Newsletter

Anti-MonopolyClimate and EnvironmentCorporate CrackdownGovernanceGovernment Capacity

Pioneer’s Price Fixing Scandal Is Yet Another Reason We Need To Fully Fund Antitrust Enforcers

Major corporate scandals make the consequences of Republican-led budget cuts at antitrust enforcement agencies even clearer. Crucially, they serve as reminders that the federal government’s ability to combat the ill effects of monopolization rises and falls in direct proportion to funding, even when motivated and creative leadership are at the helm.

April 18, 2024

Timi Iwayemi

Public Comment

Corporate CrackdownEthics in GovernmentTreasury Department

Advocacy Groups Comment On Biden Administration Rule To Combat Money Laundering In The Real Estate Sector

The Revolving Door Project joined Transparency International and other advocacy groups to provide comments on the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (“FinCEN”) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) to combat and deter money laundering in the U.S. residential real estate sector by increasing transparency.

April 03, 2024 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter

Hannah Story Brown

Newsletter

Corporate CrackdownGovernanceGovernment CapacityRight-Wing Media

Who’s Afraid of the “Deep State”?

Show me a politician rabble-rousing about “unelected bureaucrats” running the country, and I’ll show you someone who wants those bureaucrats to be serving their interests, not the country’s. Show me a company crying foul about government overreach, and I’ll show you a company trying to get away with—in some cases, literally—murder.