The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Eleanor Eagan,

Watchdog Requests Secretary of Commerce Raimondo Release Records Of Meetings With Big Business


Today, Revolving Door Project is calling on Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to immediately release copies of her calendars following her recent statements and actions in support of Big Tech and other multinational corporations. Attempts to obtain these records through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests have run up against a dysfunctional FOIA process or, perhaps, outright stonewalling. In either case, the resultant delays are an unacceptable blow to transparency. 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.

Last week, Raimondo signaled her fealty to Big Tech by condemning proposed regulations in the European Union cracking down on the runaway behemoths' market power. Twenty groups signed a letter condemning a stance that puts Raimondo at odds with other federal agencies, like the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice, attempting to reign in the influence of Big Tech.

Now more than ever, with rumors swirling that Raimondo is considering a bid for the White House in 2024, it is critical to see exactly which corporations and lobbyists Raimondo has met with in recent months. So far, Commerce has failed to respond in full to a FOIA request sent to the office over two months ago.

The request seeks calendars, planners, and meeting agendas for a six month span between March and October of 2021. Responsive documents would paint a picture of Raimondo's role currying favor with business interests and her office's failures to address both the ongoing supply chain crisis and the United States' refusal to equitably distribute Covid-19 vaccines internationally.

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. Raimondo could make this happen with a single email to her team. 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.

The Revolving Door Project (RDP) scrutinizes executive branch appointees to ensure they use their office to serve the broad public interest, rather than to entrench corporate power or seek personal advancement.