Independent Agencies

August 08, 2022 | Washington Monthly

Hannah Story Brown

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionClimateDepartment of JusticeIndependent Agencies

Why Is Merrick Garland Sticking with Donald Trump on Climate Lawsuits?

It started with Boulder in early February. Then came Baltimore and San Mateo in April. Now Honolulu and Maui are the latest municipalities to overcome a crucial legal hurdle in their fight to make fossil fuel companies pay for their role in climate change. After years of obstruction, it looks like state courts will hear arguments from these cities—as well as several states—that big energy companies knowingly concealed and misrepresented the harms of their products, contributing to climate damages these regions face. Five federal appeals courts have green-lit suing the fossil fuel giants in state court, where these state and local governments have a better chance of prevailing. The stakes are massive: requiring fossil fuel companies to foot the bill for climate change–related damages to U.S. cities and states could easily run into the tens of billions.

July 08, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

The Extraordinary (Time) Costs of Senate Republican Nomination Blockades

There are at least 366 presidentially appointed positions requiring Senate confirmation that are still awaiting a nominee or have nominees already going through the long, arduous, confirmation process. However, a process that has long been notorious for how time-consuming and antiquated it is, is intentionally being made even more difficult by nefarious Republican bad actors that are weaponizing Senate rules against supremely qualified nominees specifically to hinder the health of the federal government and to devastate President Biden’s agenda. 

July 01, 2022 | The American Prospect

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal Mekedas Belayneh Glenna Li

Op-Ed

Executive BranchIndependent Agencies

In The Wake Of "Dobbs," Biden Leans on Familiar Excuses for Inaction

During his campaign, now-President Biden loved likening his image to that of FDR. But when a rogue U.S. Supreme Court threatened to overturn the sweeping reforms of FDR’s New Deal, Roosevelt directly challenged their gross power grab by threatening court expansion coupled with expansive judicial reforms. The controversial move paid off; the Court subsequently backed down and FDR preserved the slate of New Deal–era reforms that kept the working class alive during the depths of the Great Depression and formed the basis for much more broadly shared prosperity in the subsequent decades.

June 30, 2022

Hannah Story Brown

Press Release

ClimateCongressional OversightEthics in GovernmentExecutive BranchIndependent Agencies

RELEASE: Impact of Supreme Court’s EPA Decision Can Be Minimized Through Decisive Executive Counteractions

Today the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in West Virginia v. EPA, curbing the EPA’s authority to establish carbon emissions caps under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. It is a significant blow, and is further evidence of how far this empowered, extremist Supreme Court will go to erode the functions of our government and contravene the public interest. But it is not a lethal blow. Many tools to stave off the climate crisis and facilitate an equitable energy transition remain available to the EPA, to the White House, and to Congress. 

June 23, 2022 | The American Prospect

Glenna Li

Op-Ed

Government CapacityIndependent AgenciesLaborNLRB

President Biden’s Best Agency Is Starved for Cash

Two months after Ithaca, New York, became the first city to unionize all of its Starbucks locations, Starbucks announced a dramatic alteration to its business plan for the city: It was closing a shop with one week’s notice. The coffee leviathan stated the store was closing due to “efficiency” concerns and would not guarantee new jobs for the location’s workers.

June 13, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal Mekedas Belayneh

Blog Post

FDAGovernment CapacityIndependent Agencies

The Decades-Long Food Failure at the FDA 

In 2008, a deadly salmonella outbreak from contaminated peanut products killed nine and sickened over 700 people. In the aftermath, the peanut executives who poisoned people with food they knew was contaminated received decades-long prison sentences, an all-too-rare case of a corporate criminal being held responsible for the harm they caused. Contemporary public outrage also helped to fuel a push for more structural reform to the food safety regulatory system as a whole. Shortly after the outbreak, the Obama administration began whipping bipartisan congressional support for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which sought to prevent future food safety crises by expanding and strengthening the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority over food. FSMA ultimately passed both the Senate and the House by wide margins and enjoyed broad public support when finally enacted in 2011. 

June 08, 2022

Timi Iwayemi

Press Release

cryptocurrencyFinancial RegulationFintechIndependent Agencies

RELEASE: Lummis-Gillibrand Crypto Bill Is An Irresponsible Handout To The Crypto Industry

“The industry carve outs in this bill are a reminder of the danger of corporate influence in our political system. The crypto industry’s leading figures have spent enormous amounts to shield the industry from proper financial oversight. This money has been funneled towards revolving-door hiring of former CFTC officials, formation of super PACs, and congressional campaign donations. The industry has also bemoaned the SEC’s robust regulatory posture, decrying it with the self-defeating ostensible insult of ‘regulation by enforcement.’ That supposed criticism merely underlines the urgent need for the SEC to act. Existing law is clear, and it mandates that the SEC enforce existing statutory and regulatory limits that crypto bros have brazenly broken on the assumption that they will be able to buy clemency before they are sanctioned appropriately.”

June 01, 2022

Jeff Hauser

Press Release

2020 Election/TransitionDepartment of JusticeEthics in GovernmentIndependent Agencies

With Jan. 6 Public Hearings on the Horizon, Garland Must Deliver Actual Accountability

“From Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon, to George H.W. Bush’s pardons of the Iran-Contra scandal’s architects, to Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer’s acquiescence to the financial fraudsters who generated the Great Recession, America has seen a precipitous decline in equality under the law.”