WASHINGTON – Yesterday 48 groups sent a letter to both presidential campaigns urging them to pledge to keep their administration free of the sorts of corporate conflicts of interest that have for too long defined business-as-usual in Washington — regardless of who is in power. In particular, the letter calls for the next president to not appoint any individual into a transition or senior policy role “with responsibility over an industry in which, within the last five years, they held a senior position or from which they were compensated in a consulting or advisory capacity.”
The groups note that, administration after administration, senior roles in government have been filled “with corporate insiders, many of whom are only months removed from lucrative positions in the industries they are subsequently tasked with regulating” and that “Trump did not write the current playbook, even as he has pushed it to new extremes. Steven Mnuchin is, after all, far from the first Treasury Secretary to hail from Goldman Sachs.”
According to David Segal, Executive Director of Demand Progress and a co-organizer of the letter, “There is a longstanding bipartisan propensity to hand government posts to well-connected elites who’ve made, or seek to make, millions of dollars from the industries they’re supposed to steward while in office. This has warped governance away from what’s best for the public in every single issue area — causing warranted mistrust and leading to policies that exacerbate inequality, enable corporate abuses, foment military adventurism, waste untold sums of public money, and undercut faith in American democracy.”
Jeff Hauser, the Executive Director of the Revolving Door Project and another letter co-organizer, added, “Whether a transition is shaped by a Citigroup executive, as with Michael Froman under President Obama, or by private equity executives and Goldman Sachs officials, as under President Trump, the end result is an executive branch unwilling to take on the excesses of corporate power. In 2021, America deserves a different, more public interest minded approach to governance.”
Additionally, recent polling from Data for Progress makes clear that anti-revolving door policies enjoy support from a significant majority of all Americans, regardless of political affiliation.