Independent Agencies

May 10, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post Government CapacityIndependent AgenciesIRS

The IRS Has Finally Been Given The Power to Rebuild. It’s Not Enough.

In March, six months after the start of Fiscal Year 2022, Congress finally passed an omnibus funding agreement that brought agencies out from under the shadow of Trump-era austerity (although still fell far short of enacting the funding levels that most agencies require to meet their responsibilities to the public). Critically, in the case of at least one agency, the omnibus did not just grant the money to hire new staff, but the means to do so much more quickly. At the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Congress greenlit the use of direct hiring authorities to empower the agency to temporarily forgo some of the more onerous aspects of the federal hiring process as well as to facilitate a quick rebuilding of the IRS’ notoriously depleted ranks. With this designation, Congress acknowledged that staff shortages at the IRS had reached a state of emergency and thus acted accordingly. 

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 28, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post Independent AgenciesIRS

Who Is The IRS’ Chief Counsel? Under Biden, No One.

enforcing the U.S. tax code. Much has been written regarding the IRS’ gutting over the years. The agency has been systematically defunded, deresourced, and attacked by political operatives for decades, at a grave cost to the basic functionality of our government, and to the benefit of only the richest Americans. These trends were only exacerbated under the Trump administration, which was hyper-focused on dismantling the tax system to benefit its corporate and billionaire cronies. Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s destructive influence remains pervasive throughout the IRS, with Trump’s Commissioner, Charles Rettig, still installed as the governing head of the agency while finishing a 5-year term (at the pleasure of the president) set to expire in 2022.

April 27, 2022 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter

Eleanor Eagan Hannah Story Brown

Newsletter

ClimateCongressional OversightCorporate CrackdownIndependent Agencies

More “Terrifying” Enforcement Please

On Earth Day 2021, President Biden affirmed his administration’s commitment to bold climate action that would set the world on a path to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. In the days leading up to this year’s Earth Day, in contrast, his Interior Department announced that it would reopen oil and gas lease sales on public lands. That’s bad enough. At least as alarming, however – if not more, quite frankly – is what his administration still isn’t doing to avoid catastrophic climate change.

April 25, 2022 | The New Republic

Mekedas Belayneh

Op-Ed ClimateExecutive BranchIndependent AgenciesUSPS

How Biden Can Halt the U.S. Postal Service’s Gas-Guzzling Plan

Just days after his inauguration, President Biden promised to use the federal government’s procurement authority to achieve a zero-emission fleet of government vehicles. This spring, however, that’s led to a standoff with the United States Postal Service—an independent agency overseen by a Trump-aligned postmaster general who wants to replace 225,000 out-of-date mail delivery trucks with fresh gas-guzzlers, to the tune of $11.3 billion.

March 30, 2022 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter

Eleanor Eagan Hannah Story Brown

Newsletter

Corporate CrackdownDe-TrumpificationEthics in GovernmentIndependent Agencies

Build Back Cheaper, and Other Failures of the Centrist Imagination

Across the Biden administration, officials have promised (long overdue) accountability for corporate criminals. But talk is cheap. We at the Revolving Door Project are eager to see serious action to back it up. Our latest analysis, released yesterday, shows the administration is falling short of its ambitious rhetoric. We found that it “pursued at least 24 prosecutions and rulemakings to crack down on white-collar crime this winter, but took no action against at least 48 crimes or abuses.” You can read more about those cases in our brand new tracker. Our team will add updates regularly and share a biweekly news round-up with newsletter subscribers.

March 16, 2022 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter

Eleanor Eagan

Newsletter

ClimateCryptocurrencyDepartment 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 15, 2022 | The American Prospect

Hannah Story Brown

Op-Ed ClimateCorporate 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 11, 2022

Hannah Story Brown Dylan Gyauch-Lewis

Press Release ClimateExecutive BranchFinancial RegulationIndependent AgenciesRevolving Door

Carbon Offset Legitimization Would Undermine Climate Progress, New Report Argues

The Revolving Door Project released a new “Industry Agenda” report today breaking down the systemic flaws and increasing relevance of the carbon offset industry as the favored greenwashing strategy for big industries and high-polluting nations. The report highlights the policies and executive branch agencies of interest to players in both voluntary and compliance carbon markets in the United States.