For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Progressive Groups Launch Grassroots Efforts To Lobby Against Corporate Cabinet, Release List of Corporate Insiders Biden Should Reject

WASHINGTON - Today, five progressive organizations led by the Demand Progress and the Revolving Door Project launched the “No Corporate Cabinet” campaign, dedicated to keeping corporate insiders out of the Biden administration. Partners include Climate Investigations Center, Documented, and True North Research.

The website will serve as a central hub for information and activism related to the Biden transition, with a trove of information on corporate insiders shortlisted for Biden administration posts. It also offers tools through which people can take action and contact key decision makers, which are expected to be used by tens of thousands of people. You can check out the website here.

Yesterday, a distinct parallel campaign launched in partnership between Daily Kos, Demand Progress, and more than 20 other progressive and good governance organizations, including MPower Change, Public Citizen, Presente, Ultraviolet, and the Working Families Party. The groups are asking activists to email, call, and tweet at the Biden transition and Senate Democrats to urge them “to appoint public-minded progressives instead of corporate lobbyists and executives for key roles” in the Biden administration.

The Persons of Interest page on the “No Corporate Cabinet” website will single out key corporate-friendly insiders in Biden’s orbit who must be stopped – including one who has already been announced this week – and details their troubling pasts. At this time they’re calling for the rejection of the following Persons of Interest, with more to be added based on news reports and other intel about who is under consideration.

  • Brian Deese: After advising Obama on climate policy (defending the production of fossil fuels and necessity of oil and gas), Deese took a job as the chief greenwasher at the world's largest investor in fossil fuels: BlackRock.
  • Larry Fink: Larry Fink is the CEO of BlackRock, which is the fossil fuel industry's top banker and quietly exerts massive influence over the U.S. government and economy.
  • Mark Gitenstein: While working as a corporate lobbyist, Mark Gitenstein listed many successes including weakening whistleblower laws and packing federal courts with business-friendly judges.
  • Tony James: Tony James has taken it upon himself to improve private equity's well-deserved poor public image, all the while being credibly accused of market-rigging and collusion.
  • Ernest Moniz: Even though he believes that climate change is real, Ernest Moniz has maintained unusually close ties with the fossil fuel industry throughout his career in public life, refusing to adopt climate policies which might anger his friends in coal, oil, and gas.
  • Gina Raimondo: Gina Raimondo has been a steadfast ally of Wall Street and corporate America throughout her time in politics, selling out pensioners to hedge funds, slashing social services, and making enemies of labor unions.
  • Bruce Reed: Bruce Reed was a key intellectual architect of the Democratic Party’s turn toward neoliberal economic policy and conservative social policy.
  • Steve Ricchetti: Steve Ricchetti has spent his entire career shuffling through the revolving door, lobbying on behalf of corporate interests from both K Street and within the halls of government -- which is why it’s deeply disappointing and dangerous that he’s in line to serve as senior counselor to the president in Biden’s administration. 
  • Heather Zichal: Heather Zichal served as the Obama White House's actions "chief ambassador to oil and gas companies" before leveraging her relationships into a job with a natural gas company.
  • Jason Bordoff: Jason Bordoff rarely sees a fossil fuel project he doesn't support, which isn't surprising because nearly all of his professional positions are currently funded by fossil fuel corporations.

“President-elect Biden is assembling this administration after four years of egregious corruption under the Trump administration and in the depths of a historic crisis,” David Segal, Demand Progress Executive Director, said. “If Biden is serious about 'building back better' in a way that remedies the longstanding ills of the country, his administration must be run by people dedicated to working in service of the general welfare. Our message is clear: Joe Biden should not let corporate interests run the government – and, if needed, senators must hold him accountable.”

“The Biden administration has a daunting task ahead, to both undo the corruption of the Trump years and guide the country out of interlinked crises of health, economics, racial injustice, and climate change,” Jeff Hauser, Revolving Door Project Executive Director said. “None of that can happen if Biden appoints to his government the same corporate leaders whose profits skyrocketed under Trump, and whose influence over the last four decades generally has led to surging inequality and a crisis of faith in government. If Democrats fail to take back the Senate, executive-branch powers will be one of Biden’s only ways of tangibly improving Americans’ lives. He cannot trust corporate America if he hopes to do that.”

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“Americans are exhausted. We have spent the last four years watching the Trump administration repeatedly put the interests of big businesses and corporate lobbyists over the well-being of everyday people, causing untold suffering--especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Carolyn Fiddler, the Communications Director of Daily Kos said. “That's why it is imperative that the Biden administration appoint a cabinet that puts the American people's interests over corporate agendas. Now more than ever, we need leadership that is experienced in corporate accountability and will check the interests of big corporations while advocating for policies that center the health and success of all Americans, especially Americans of color.”

“There are a finite number of cabinet positions. Any cabinet post given to a recent corporate lobbyist is one less seat that could be filled by a well-qualified person whose record demonstrates a deep commitment to advancing public good rather than private gain,” said Lisa Graves, executive director of True North Research, a partner on the No Corporate Cabinet initiative. “Especially after the massive financial conflicts in the Trump cabinet, the new administration should take extra steps to avoid the conflicts of interests that have made the revolving door so lucrative to the distinct disadvantage of the real needs of Americans whose lives are in tumult due to the pandemic and callous indifference of a Senate majority led by Mitch McConnell. Personnel is policy and We the People deserve a better cabinet in the Biden Administration, one that reflects the true needs of the American people rather than greed of huge corporations.”

This new website comes just a week after Demand Progress and The Revolving Door Project led a group of 50+ organizations in sending letters to President-elect Joe Biden as well as Democratic senators and senators-elect, urging them to reject corporate insiders for cabinet positions.

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