Department of Justice

February 03, 2022 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter

Eleanor Eagan

Newsletter

Climate and EnvironmentDe-TrumpificationDepartment of JusticeFinancial Regulation

From Shriveled Enforcement to OLC Opinions, Trump Stench on Exec Branch Remains

It seems that each passing day brings another example of how chronic underfunding of government is threatening the Biden administration’s ability to make good on its promises to the public. On the campaign trail, for example, Biden pledged to hold polluters accountable. But, according to a new analysis from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) referrals to the Justice Department fell to their lowest level in three decades in 2021 and were fully one-third lower than in 2020. A lack of capacity may also be undermining the EPA’s ability to quickly and effectively deploy new infrastructure funds for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure programs, lead pipe replacement, and cleanup of PFAS contaminants.

January 31, 2022 | The American Prospect

Hannah Story Brown

Op-Ed 2020 Election/TransitionDepartment of JusticeEthics in GovernmentExecutive Branch

Garland Has Yet to De-Trumpify His Office of Legal Counsel

One former employee of the Office of Legal Counsel, upon quitting her job during the Trump presidency, described the OLC’s work to The Washington Post succinctly: “using the law to legitimize lies.” Three years later, and a year after Trump left office, most of those legitimized lies remain intact.

January 27, 2022

Letter Anti-MonopolyDepartment of JusticeGovernment CapacityRevolving Door

Letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland Highlights Urgent Need for Resources in the Antitrust Division 

The Justice Department plays a key role in President Biden’s vision of promoting “the interests of American workers, businesses, and consumers” through increasing competition, a plan which stands to be one the most enduring legacies of this administration. Your commitment to promote “competition by fairly and vigorously enforcing the antitrust laws,” along with the confirmation of Jonathan Kanter to Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division, are crucial steps forward in this vision.

January 25, 2022 | Talking Points Memo

Hannah Story Brown

Op-Ed 2020 Election/TransitionDepartment of JusticeExecutive BranchIndependent AgenciesRevolving Door

DOJ Civil: Progressives Should Pay Attention To The Actions Of This Powerful Litigating Division

If you search for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Google, you’ll find an overwhelming majority of search results are for the Civil Rights Division. That’s unsurprising — the average person is typically more aware of the Civil Rights Division’s work. And it makes sense: As the “crown jewel” of the DOJ, the division performs the crucial work of enforcing the laws that prohibit discrimination.

January 05, 2022 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter

Eleanor Eagan

Newsletter

Congressional OversightDepartment of JusticeEthics in Government

The Stones that Paved the Way to 1/6

Tomorrow marks one year from when rioters stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election. In the 364 days since that horrific event some things have certainly changed: the presidency has successfully changed hands, almost 200 insurrectionists have plead guilty, and a handful of Trump’s associates have been held in contempt of Congress for their refusal to testify before the select committee. And yet, in other respects, progress has been woefully incomplete. Key officials from the Trump administration remain in place, the federal government continues to defend many of Trump’s seemingly indefensible legal positions, and Trump and his inner circle have not faced consequences for inciting the insurrection.

December 15, 2021 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter

Eleanor Eagan

Newsletter

Confirmations CrisisDepartment of JusticeFinancial RegulationIndependent AgenciesSEC

Biden’s Bank Regulators Play Hardball

Late last Thursday, a Democratic majority on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) board announced that it had voted to take comment on the agency’s process for reviewing bank mergers, a policy that fits neatly within the Biden administration’s whole-of-government approach to competition. On its face, this is wholly unremarkable. But what should have been just another early step towards meeting this administration’s goals quickly turned into an all out war thanks to the FDIC’s Trump holdover chair Jelena McWilliams.

December 13, 2021 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed Department of Justice

The Trump Officials Still Running Biden’s Justice Department

We are rapidly approaching the one-year anniversary of January 6, and Attorney General Merrick Garland has yet to give any sign that his Justice Department is independently investigating former President Trump and his fellow instigators. This is, by far, Garland’s most high-profile failure when it comes to accountability for the prior administration, one that more observers have begun to notice. But it is not the only one.

December 07, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Press Release Department of JusticeTech

Watchdog Requests Correspondence Concerning Senior DOJ Officials’ Recusals

Today, the Revolving Door Project issued Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for records reflecting any ethics advice given to any Senate-confirmed Department of Justice (DOJ) officials. The Project also requested any ethics advice given to Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General Anita Singh, whose husband is a member of Google’s antitrust defense team at law firm Vinson & Elkins. The Project is interested in which potential conflicts of interest do or don’t trigger ethics concerns within the Department, particularly as Big Tech companies engage in a cynical and specious campaign to use ethics rules to tie the hands of antitrust enforcers.  

November 18, 2021 | The American Prospect

Hannah Story Brown

Op-Ed Department of JusticeEthics in GovernmentExecutive BranchIndependent AgenciesRevolving Door

How Biden Can Protect Students From Predatory For-Profit Colleges

The Biden administration inherited a morass of understaffed and undermined federal agencies, weakened by the Trump administration. It makes sense that building back the government’s capacity would be an uphill battle for the Biden administration, with so many years of policymaking undermined by his predecessor. What doesn’t make sense is the jarring number of cases in which the administration is going out of its way, at considerable cost, to uphold Trump-era policies that go against Biden’s stated agenda and the public interest.

November 17, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Newsletter Climate and EnvironmentDepartment of JusticeExecutive BranchFederal ReserveIndependent AgenciesTreasury Department

After Infrastructure Week

Congressional selfies and self-congratulations inaugurated the week, but a lot of hard work remains to translate the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s (IIJA) policies into real-life results. Given that those policies are (generously) middling and that the most promising ones are underfunded, turning these into winning programs will demand energy, creativity, competence, and a strong commitment to the public interest.