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Gina Raimondo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo (L) hosts a roundtable with European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager (R) at the Commerce Department in Washington, D.C., on December 7, 2021. (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Watchdog Demands to Know More About Commerce Secretary's Talks With Big Tech

"It is critical that the Commerce Department gives the American people a full accounting of with whom Raimondo has been meeting and whom she has rebuffed, as arguably the most corporatist appointee in President Joe Biden's cabinet."

Brett Wilkins

A leading government accountability watchdog demanded Friday that U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo immediately release copies of her calendars due to concerns about the former venture capitalist's "fealty to Big Tech."

"Prompt disclosure of Raimondo's calendars is critical for understanding the muscle which business interests are wielding to influence the U.S. government's trade and economic policy."

The Center for Economic Policy Research's Revolving Door Project said that "as one of the most powerful presidential appointees overseeing trade and commerce, prompt disclosure of Raimondo's calendars is critical for understanding the muscle which business interests are wielding to influence the U.S. government's trade and economic policy."

The group added that "her office's lack of transparency comes as millions continue to suffer under the weight of an ongoing pandemic and the ensuing supply chain crisis that has sent corporate profits skyrocketing while consumers struggle to make ends meet."

Raimondo—who in 2001 co-founded Rhode Island's first venture capital firm and was later elected governor of the state—faced criticism last week after she condemned proposed European Union regulations aimed at reining in anti-competitive behavior by corporations including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and others.

The commerce secretary said she has "serious concerns" about the proposed E.U. reforms—which according to her would "disproportionately impact U.S.-based tech firms"—and that she encourages officials in Brussels to listen to objections from Big Tech and the Biden administration before making their final decision.

"Ultimately, it's about creating an environment where businesses can flourish," she asserted. 

In a letter sent after Raimondo's remarks, 21 advocacy groups including Demand Progress, Our Revolution, Public Citizen, and Revolving Door Project urged the secretary to commit to "eliminating abusive monopolies in every industry."

Revolving Door Project said Friday that "it is critical that the Commerce Department gives the American people a full accounting of with whom Raimondo has been meeting and whom she has rebuffed, as arguably the most corporatist appointee in President Joe Biden's cabinet," adding that she "could make this happen with a single email to her team."


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