Department of Justice

May 04, 2022 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter

Daniel Boguslaw

Newsletter

Corporate CrackdownDepartment of JusticeEthics in GovernmentIndependent Agencies

With SCOTUS In Flames, Something Is Wrong With The White House Fire Alarm

Monday’s wrenching news that the Supreme Court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade marks a final leg in Republicans’ long march to theocratic rule, bringing conservatives far closer to consolidating total power even before the reckoning of 2024, when the GOP is set to launch a barrage of anti-democratic incendiary balloons at an already scorched Constitution. The highest judicial body in the land has emerged from its terrifying chrysalis, emboldened by dark money groups and transformed into a bludgeon aimed at the most basic constitutional rights and federal agencies that regulate our air and water, our work and labor rights, and the vast public health apparatus of the United States government. 

April 05, 2022

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis Andrea Beaty

Blog Post Anti-MonopolyDepartment of JusticeFTCGovernment Capacity

Putting Biden’s Antitrust Budget Increases In Context

The federal government may no longer be operating under the onus of Trump-era austerity, but agencies across the federal government are still far from having the resources they need to quickly and effectively fulfill their responsibilities to the American people. For the most part, President Biden’s proposed FY 2023 budget fails to fill that gap. However, increased funding for antitrust regulation is one of the bright spots in an otherwise uninspired budget. As we have covered in the past, both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division (ATR) saw staffing levels stagnate and budget allocations that did not keep pace with inflation or GDP growth. 

March 28, 2022

Mekedas Belayneh

Blog Post Anti-MonopolyDepartment of JusticeEthics in GovernmentExecutive BranchTech

The DOJ Should Follow Its Own Guidance on FOIA Administration

The celebration of Sunshine Week earlier this month underscored the importance of the continued effort to ensure effective administration of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and its central role for open democracy. Passed by Congress in 1966, FOIA allows citizens to request unpublished records and information from the federal government. Watchdog organizations have long relied on records obtained from FOIA requests to hold the government accountable to public interests. But, the system comes with a plethora of flaws that prevents adequate timeliness and transparency. Endless backlogs, increased usage of exemptions, partially redacted documents, and outright denials leave much to be desired in the administration of FOIA today.

March 16, 2022 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter

Eleanor Eagan

Newsletter

Climate and EnvironmentCryptocurrencyDepartment of JusticeIndependent AgenciesLarry SummersSEC

Facing Rising Prices and Falling Political Fortunes, Biden Needs to Go on Offense

With each passing day, Biden and his party appear to be facing ever more severe political headwinds. Inflation remains elevated, with a new variant threatening to further aggravate supply chain problems. Meanwhile, the (warranted) response to the war in Ukraine has specifically pushed gas prices upwards. Add to this that the Federal Reserve appears eager to throw millions out of work to slow the economy and that some of Biden’s outstanding nominations are in peril thanks to his own, uncooperative co-partisans, and things are undoubtedly looking bleak. 

March 16, 2022

Fatou Ndiaye

Blog Post Climate and EnvironmentDepartment of JusticeGovernment Capacity

To Take Down Corporate Polluters, the DOJ's Environmental Enforcer Needs More Capacity

Overseen by Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim, the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) is one of seven litigating components of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The ENRD is divided into ten sections, each with its own area of expertise. The Division fulfills a wide range of responsibilities. For instance, the ENRD is tasked with protecting the nation’s natural resources and enforcing U.S. civil and criminal environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and hazardous waste laws. The Division also handles tribal rights and resources cases. Other responsibilities include, but are not limited to, “facilitating cleaner energy and ensuring marketplace integrity; defending and adjudicating water rights for Federal agencies and Indian Tribes, as well as policies and decisions that support the generation of clean energy on Federal lands and the outer continental shelf; and, promoting international climate justice activities and the advancement of legislative and policy matters related to climate change.”

March 15, 2022 | The American Prospect

Hannah Story Brown

Op-Ed Climate and EnvironmentCorporate CrackdownDepartment of JusticeEthics in GovernmentExecutive BranchIndependent Agencies

Where the Government’s Environmental Lawyers Stand

Joe Biden pledged that as president he would hold polluters accountable. But in 2021, the number of criminal cases against polluters referred to the Justice Department dropped even lower than the year before. At best, DOJ officials have set their sights on bringing environmental crime enforcement back up to Obama-era levels—but not exceeding them. That’s a decidedly muted goal; environmental crimes enforcement was higher under George W. Bush than Obama, and has always been underfunded.

March 09, 2022 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter

Eleanor Eagan

Newsletter

Department of JusticeEconomic PolicyIndependent Agencies

The Seeming Minutiae that Matters Greatly

The Biden administration is continuing to ramp up economic pressure on Russia through a far-reaching sanctions regime. However, even as many experts praise the United States’ measures, particularly those aimed at Russian oligarchs’ overseas wealth, they are also questioning how effective they will be in the face of loopholes and implementation challenges.

March 03, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post Department of JusticeRevolving Door

Revolver Spotlight: Michael Easley Jr. and the Office of the U.S. Attorneys

As officers with extraordinary latitude and immense authority within their districts, U.S. Attorneys have the ability to implement ambitious reforms to the federal legal landscape in a direct and immediate fashion. U.S. Attorneys also have incredible freedom to reorient the undercurrent priorities of the federal legal system and to center historically under prosecuted, but systemic nonetheless, crimes such as corporate and white collar malfeasance. Because of the incredible potential of the position, it is critical that these offices are prioritized in Biden’s staffing of the federal bureaucracy. However, as we have examined previously, the Biden administration has proven remarkably slow in its nominations process for U.S. Attorneys positions, seemingly in part due to an unwillingness to decisively abandon deference to a racist Senate decorum procedure known as blue slips.

March 02, 2022 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis Max Moran Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Newsletter

Corporate CrackdownDepartment of JusticeEconomic PolicyFinancial Regulation

What Can Biden Actually DO From His State Of The Union?

If there’s one thing the readers of this newsletter definitely haven’t read yet today, it’s a reaction to last night’s State of the Union address.

Like many, we were hoping to see President Joe Biden adopt a new overall message to the American people as his poll numbers have sagged and Democrats brace for a rough midterm election in just eight short months. We’ve been making our pitch for the last few months about what that message should be: Biden ought to use his powers to crack down on corporate villains, and heavily publicize doing so. The ubiquity of already unpopular enemies and latent presidential powers gives Biden the chance to clarify to the public what exactly he stands for. Our Jeff Hauser and Max Moran laid out the case for this “Corporate Crackdown” message in Democracy Journal in January.

February 22, 2022

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis

Report Anti-MonopolyDepartment of JusticeGovernment Capacity

Making The Antitrust Division Competitive: A Look At Capacity As Biden Revitalizes Enforcement

The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division (ATR) is, along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the primary regulator of antitrust law and is responsible for ensuring markets’ competitiveness. In that capacity, it investigates corporate consolidation and allegations of collusion and anticompetitive practices that undermine the free market. ATR is also responsible for supervising mergers and acquisitions to ensure that companies cannot establish monopolies. While both ATR and the FTC share this objective, the two divide jurisdiction based on industry. ATR also investigates and prosecutes criminal antitrust violations.

February 16, 2022 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter

Eleanor Eagan

Newsletter

Congressional OversightCryptocurrencyDepartment of JusticeEconomic PolicyFinancial Regulation

Is Crypto Experiencing Inflation in the Price of Revolvers?

Inflation, it’s all anyone can seem to talk about. With prices rising at their fastest rate in more than three decades, the White House is understandably looking for ways to get things under control. Rhetorically, they’ve pointed their finger at corporate greed, highlighting the stark contradiction between companies’ claims that price hikes are unavoidable and their record profits (which, by definition, mean they can raise prices faster than their costs are rising). Action to follow that diagnosis, however, has been more muted. That is not because they don’t have options at their disposal.

February 11, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post Department of JusticeExecutive Branch

Abandon Blue Slips: An Examination of the U.S. Attorneys Office

President Biden campaigned on ambitious reforms to the criminal legal system. Among these promises were key proposals like expanding the use of the President’s clemency powers, reorienting federal prosecutorial priorities, and decentering carcerality in the Federal system. His administration has also promised the public a new focus on white collar and corporate crime as part of a fundamental shift towards systemic accountability instead of individual punishment. Yet, more than a year into Biden’s presidency, many of these promises remain unfulfilled. His Department of Justice (DOJ) – a key tool in the fight for meaningful legal reforms – remains pockmarked by Trump-era officials and lacks the permanent progressive leadership integral to successful reform efforts. U.S. Attorneys’ offices, in particular, remain limited by the standing lack of nominations, confirmations, and stable leadership that persists over a year after President Biden’s inauguration.