Tech

August 10, 2020

Jeff Hauser Max Moran Andrea Beaty Miranda Litwak

Blog Post

Anti-MonopolyEthics in GovernmentRevolving DoorTech

The Revolving Door Project on Fighting Monopoly Power

Congress and the antitrust enforcement agencies have given unprecedented attention to the monopoly issues surrounding Big Tech in recent months. The scrutiny is one step toward rebalancing our increasingly concentrated economy, especially in the time of COVID-19, when small businesses are struggling to survive and corporations are further entrenching their power. But the problem of economic concentration extends far beyond Big Tech. It defines almost every corner of our economy. With the upcoming election and a potential shift in power, Joe Biden has an opportunity to reduce economic consolidation across the board, using executive branch powers including, but not limited to, reforming the antitrust enforcement agencies.

August 05, 2020 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Congressional OversightTech

The Big Tech Hearings Could Be a Model for Corporate Accountability

In 2018, Democrats ran and won on a platform to hold President Trump and his cronies accountable. Many observers expected to be treated to a full schedule of oversight programming in the succeeding Congress, with a nearly endless stream of smug incompetents being caught in their lies and obfuscations. Some even dared to hope that the oversight fervor might spill over to another breed of smug incompetents: corporate CEOs. But, alas, the promised enthusiasm for oversight never seemed to materialize, let alone spread to new targets. (As usual, House Financial Services Committee chairwoman Maxine Waters, who confronted big bank CEOs within months of assuming control of her committee, stands out as a rare exception).

August 04, 2020

Public Comment

Ethics in GovernmentFinancial RegulationTech

Revolving Door Project Comments on OCC's Proposed Rulemaking on Digital Activities

As numerous civil rights and racial justice organizations have highlighted, changes to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) regulations on digital activities are likely to have far-reaching consequences as it regards economic and racial equity. Specifically, these changes risk leading to disparate impact, “digital redlining, “predatory inclusion,” and enhanced surveillance. Given the seriousness of this rulemaking’s potential consequences, the OCC should do all that it can to ensure that the public has the utmost confidence in the integrity of the rulemaking process. Sadly, in allowing that process to move forward under the leadership of an acting official with severe conflicts of interest, the Office is rendering public trust in it impossible.

July 29, 2020 | Talking Points Memo

Andrea Beaty

Op-Ed

Anti-MonopolyDepartment of JusticeFTCTech

Today’s Congressional Hearing Will Test Big Tech’s Simplest Algorithm: If An Ex-Regulator, Then Hire

The tech companies set to testify before the House today knew for years that a reckoning was in the works. They’ve been building up their defenses, and a key component of that defense is the antitrust enforcement officials who take a trip through the revolving door to the benefit of corporate clients.

May 11, 2020

Miranda Litwak

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign FinanceTech

Biden's Ties to Immigration Enforcement Run Through BigTech

As we creep closer to November’s election, Democratic politicians–progressives and moderates alike–have largely fallen in line behind presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Even so, Biden must earn the vote of many progressive voters who are wary of his pro-corporate leanings. While Biden showed promise by teaming up with Sanders’ campaign on policy, there is still cause for grave concern. Just last week, the public learned that Larry Summers was advising the Biden campaign. Last month Biden’s donors put out a list of ideal candidates for senior-level administration positions, which included Wall Street big wigs such as BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink, Blackstone executive Tony James, and investment banker Mark Gallogly. Biden’s wealthy donors must be monitored in order to prevent corporate interests from capturing his transition-planning effort.

April 11, 2020 | Washington Monthly

Max Moran

Op-Ed

Revolving DoorTech

How Big Tech Is Preparing for a Biden Presidency

If Joe Biden wins in November, you can bet that Big Tech’s representatives will do the same thing as every other industry’s political strategists: scour the list of more than four thousand appointments across the executive branch the new president needs to make, and figure out which of their loyalists are ready for a spin through the government’s revolving door.

January 31, 2020

Eleanor Eagan Max Moran

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionCampaign FinancePrivate EquityTech

Who Exactly Are Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg's Bundlers?

Eleanor Eagan | Max Moran

Beginning in the fall, the Revolving Door Project was one of a handful of voices drawing attention to Democratic primary candidates’ failure to release the names of their most important fundraisers. In op-eds, newsletters, and across other forums throughout the fall we repeatedly made the case that this consequential information could not stay hidden.

Why were we so insistent? A candidate’s list of top fundraisers, or bundlers, provides clearer insight than perhaps any other piece of campaign material into how a candidate would actually do the job of being president.

October 23, 2019 | The American Prospect

Max Moran

Op-Ed

Tech

Moderate Democrats Back a Privacy Bill, Minus the Privacy

“We need to start thinking not just about ticky-tack privacy rules, but what’s the reason why companies invade our privacy? And one of those reasons is the behavioral advertising model … it’s often manipulative. So we have to think about how these businesses are incentivized and structured if we want to get to the root cause of massive surveillance in our economy today.”

So declared FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra at a hearing on online platforms and market power last week. Chopra, who’s earned a reputation as a crusader in his short term thus far, was opening the door to a far deeper conversation about Big Tech than one usually hears in Washington, even in the midst of the so-called “techlash.”

October 07, 2019 | The American Prospect

Max Moran

Op-Ed

Financial RegulationRevolving DoorTech

Freddie Mac Using Shady AI Company for Mortgage Loans

The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage giant, is testing underwriting software from fintech firm ZestFinance. A creation of ex-Google executive Douglas Merrill, ZestFinance claims to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to spot trends in a borrower’s record that traditional lending models miss. This supposedly allows more credit to flow to borrowers who need and can afford it, allowing Freddie to issue more mortgages.

September 16, 2019

Max Moran

Blog PostFOIA Request

Revolving DoorTech

Revolving Door Project Probes Thiel's White House Connection

Max Moran
Washington is awash with proposals for a new regulatory agency centered on Silicon Valley. Often lost in that important conversation is the fact that the executive branch already has some positions with a direct focus on the technology sector, though they are limited in scope and scattered across the alphabet-soup of agencies. Perhaps no tech-focused bureaucrat has the president’s ear quite like the Chief Technology Officer. The CTO is the White House’s top advisor on anything to do with technology and innovation, tasked with explaining the latest developments and guiding the thinking of the most powerful politician on earth.