Independent Agencies

April 16, 2021

Sion Bell

Blog Post

Independent AgenciesIRS

Neglected IRS Oversight Board A Crucial Component of Tax Justice

It is relatively well known, for example, that the Internal Revenue Service has long suffered from under-investments in its budget. Less appreciated, however, are independent facets within the IRS which, rather than being primarily burdened by budget constraints, have simply been forgotten. One such facet is the IRS Oversight Board (IRSOB), which is supposed to provide guidance to the president on the IRS Commissioner and develop long-term strategic plans for the agency. The Board has lacked the five members necessary for a quorum since 2015.

April 06, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

The State of Independent Agency Nominations - Update for April 2021

After over two months in office, President Joe Biden has a Cabinet. And his administration continues to announce names for the nearly 4000 other positions it will need to fill. With only a few exceptions, however, picks for one class of appointment — to independent agency boards — have been slow to emerge. The Biden administration undoubtedly faces many competing priorities, but these nominations must rise to the top.

March 31, 2021

Newsletter

2020 Election/TransitionGovernment CapacityIndependent Agencies

They’re Building Back Better; We Still Urge Faster!

Jockeying to shape the upcoming infrastructure package is well underway. Our attention, however, is on an important deadline this Sunday. April 4 is the last day for lawmakers to introduce Congressional Review Act resolutions to strike eligible Trump rules from the books. If they don’t meet this deadline, the Biden administration will have to undertake a lengthy administrative process to reverse those regulations. By forcing Biden to dedicate resources to these rollbacks and delaying the start of new rulemakings, failure to act now could set this administration back on everything from civil rights and financial regulation to housing and environmental regulation.

March 17, 2021

Newsletter

2020 Election/TransitionGovernment CapacityIndependent Agencies

The Financial Conflicts Lurking Around the Corner

Almost two months after he took office, Biden’s Cabinet is nearing completion. Nearly all of the six remaining spots seem set to be filled in relatively short order. Now, with the senior-most leadership in place, more permanent hiring for other political roles is likely to accelerate. And with that in mind progressives and good government groups are engaging in another push to ensure that public interest-minded officials populate all levels of political leadership. On Thursday, 46 groups sent a letter to Chief of Staff Ron Klain asking that new hires at the Justice Department not hail from BigLaw and that those with connections to firms who have already been hired recuse from policy and personnel decisions that could impact former clients. When asked whether the Biden administration would heed that call, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki was noncommittal. That’s disappointing — demanding recusals from BigTech and BigLaw tied hires should be a no-brainer (and, in fact, it’s already a step down from our preferred solution, which is not to appoint them at all) — but, if there’s one thing the administration should know by now, it’s that we’ll not be letting them off the hook when it comes to conflicts of interest.

March 16, 2021

Dorothy Slater Eleanor Eagan Max Moran

Blog Post

ClimateFinancial RegulationIndependent Agencies

FSOC 101: How Each Member Of The Financial Stability Oversight Council Can Fight Climate Change

Title 1 of the Dodd-Frank Act Title established the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) just over a decade ago. Prior to its arrival, there was no cross-agency government body tasked with protecting the financial system from systemic risks. FSOC was created to avoid repeating the mistakes of the 2008 financial crisis and to be a safeguard against financial practices with the potential to wreak global havoc.

March 16, 2021

Dorothy Slater

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateFinancial RegulationIndependent Agencies

A Slam Dunk Climate Opportunity For Biden: Five Open Seats On The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board

President Biden is being presented with a straightforward, simple opportunity to make good on his promise to take a whole-of-government approach to fighting climate change. Appointing climate leaders who will take urgent climate action even if their job descriptions do not explicitly mention the environment is one of the easiest and most important ways Biden can display integrity.

March 05, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

The State of Independent Agency Nominations - Update for March 2021

It has been over a month since President Joe Biden assumed the presidency. So far, thirteen of his Cabinet picks have received Senate confirmation, while the remaining ten who will require it wend their way through the process. In the meantime, the administration continues to announce names for the nearly 4000 other positions it will need to fill. With only a few exceptions, however, picks for one class of appointment — to independent agency boards — have not yet been forthcoming. The Biden administration undoubtedly faces many competing priorities, but these nominations must rise to the top.

February 19, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionIndependent Agencies

Senate Must Clear Obstacles and Avoid False Tradeoffs

On January 20, Joe Biden was sworn in as the country’s 46th President. It will be months, even years, however, before all of the accompanying members of his administration are in place. With over 4000 positions to fill, the vetting and selection process necessary to stand up a new administration is formidable. Add to that the lengthy road to Senate confirmation for over 1000 of those picks and you have a recipe for dysfunction.

February 17, 2021

Sion Bell

Blog Post

Department of JusticeIndependent Agencies

Neglected US Parole Commission a Crucial Component of Criminal Justice Reform

President Biden has committed his administration to countering economic and racial injustice. One area in which such injustices are notoriously and particularly prevalent is the criminal justice system, a reality all too clear for the millions of currently incarcerated Americans. Numerous studies have demonstrated the effects of systemic racism and classism on likelihood of arrest and imprisonment, but such discrimination also extends to the end of one’s sentence when an individual has the opportunity to begin their reintegration into society.

February 11, 2021 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Financial RegulationIndependent Agencies

The Trump Holdovers Biden Still Needs to Fire

Throughout several decades in the Senate, Joe Biden earned a reputation as an institutionalist. Extraordinary circumstances, however, are pushing the new president to cast aside many of his beloved norms when they fail to account for these exceptional times. In just a few short weeks, Biden has removed officials whose predecessors had never before been fired. And faced with predictable Republican obstruction on his signature pandemic response bill, he’s eschewed endless waiting for compromise in favor of budget reconciliation.

February 05, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

The State of Independent Agency Nominations - Update for February 2021

It has been just over two weeks since President Joe Biden assumed the presidency. So far, six of his Cabinet picks have received Senate confirmation while the remaining 17 who will require it wend their way through the process. In the meantime, the administration continues to announce names for the nearly 4000 other positions it will need to fill. With only one exception, however, picks for one class of appointment — to independent agency boards — have not yet been forthcoming. The Biden administration undoubtedly faces many competing priorities but these nominations must rise to the top.

January 26, 2021

Dorothy Slater Zena Wolf

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateFinancial RegulationIndependent Agencies

Why The Next CFTC Chairperson Must Prioritize Climate Action Over Market Fads

Initially created to regulate futures derivatives on crops that had yet to be harvested, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) holds newfound possibility in the coming decade. It is absolutely crucial that a modern-day CFTC taps into the power it already holds to lead on climate action. Naturally, this necessitates a leader with a proven record of taking on corporate power. Any appointee should be prepared to advocate for the public interest, acknowledge the current reality of climate decay we find ourselves in, and creatively apply tools of the government to take immediate action.

January 22, 2021 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionIndependent Agencies

The Chopra Gambit

On Monday, President Biden announced his intention to name Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s next director, earning a rare, unqualified cheer from the party’s left flank. Despite serving in the minority on the FTC, Chopra has managed to have a ground-shaking impact, earning a reputation for skillful and creative maneuvering. It is encouraging to see his dogged work for the public interest rewarded and the CFPB land in such capable hands. Just elevating Chopra, however, is not enough. If Democrats are serious about good governance and building their party’s power, they must look to the institutional features that provided Chopra with a platform and honed his governing skills so that, moving forward, he is not such a lonely figure.

January 12, 2021

Dorothy Slater Max Moran

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateFinancial RegulationIndependent Agencies

Gary Gensler Would Lead An Un-Captured SEC To New Climate Regs

Gensler’s first order of business at the SEC will be to reverse Trump’s deregulatory agenda and rebuild the agency’s capacity to police American stock-trading. But this should only be a starting point: SEC activity was insufficient even under Obama, and issues linked to the financial system, from climate change to inequality, have worsened in the four intervening years.