A progressive coalition of over 50 organizations is urging President-elect Joe Biden and Senate Democrats to slam shut the so-called "revolving door" by creating a White House cabinet comprised only of those individuals who will prioritize the public good over corporate interests.
The demand is outlined in a pair of letters sent Thursday to the Biden transition team and Democrats heading to the U.S. Senate in the next session. Spearheaded by Demand Progress and the Revolving Door Project, the letters (pdf) point to the impending conclusion of President Donald Trump's "unfettered governance in service of powerful corporations" and the opportunity the incoming administration has to shift course and "meet the historic needs of this moment."
If "your administration cares to remedy longstanding ills... it must be run by people who care foremost about working in service of the general welfare."
—50+ Groups to Biden"We're urging President-elect Biden to not only embrace a populist economic message, but embody it by deploying all the tools of the executive branch to deliver for regular people," Jeff Hauser, executive director of the Revolving Door Project said in a statement.
"To make it happen," Hauser continued, "Biden will need to appoint high-energy, creative officials who wake up every morning determined to do all they can to advance the public interest, not those who remain beholden to corporations and private profit."
Reporting over the past week confirms the need for the sustained push from progressives, with news that transition team advisors include technology executives and those with ties to the chemical industry and weapons manufacturers.
With such powerful forces clamoring at the White House gates, the letters call for Biden, once in office, to take advantage of tools including the "Vacancy Act and recess appointments to overcome any obstruction by [newly-reelected Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans."
The letters also note that such corporate influence was problematic well before Trump—whose appointments included former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to be Environmental Protection Agency administrator and "shipping heiress" and McConnell's wife Elaine Chao to be Transportation Secretary—filled the swamp he'd pledged to drain.
"While the Trump administration has embodied extremes of self-dealing, incompetence, and subservience to corporations, sadly the revolving door between big corporations and government pre-dated the Trump administration," the groups wrote. "The revolving door has generated far too many conflicts of interest and policy outcomes diverging from the public interest under both Republican and Democratic presidents."
The need to embark on new course is urgent, the groups added, pointing to the fact the the nation "faces a multilayered crisis, borne of the pandemic and the attendant economic collapse, which demands immediate and forceful action."
"Moreover, if your administration cares to remedy longstanding ills—like corporate concentration and structural economic inequities, systemic racism, the climate crisis, endless wars, and more— it must be run by people who care foremost about working in service of the general welfare," the letters read.
"The revolving door limits the trust Americans have in government and has time and again led to bad policy outcomes," said the groups. "We urge you to take advantage of this historic and unique moment in American history to shut the revolving door closed and rebuild that trust."
"The nation is depending on you to ensure the executive branch is led by the right people for this critical moment," the groups wrote.