Revolving door (politics)
Practice of government regulators being employed later by the affected industries and vice versa
In politics, revolving door is a movement of personnel between roles as legislators and regulators, on one hand, and members of the industries affected by the legislation and regulation, on the other.
- Increasingly, our large corporations have been abusing the awesome power that they have amassed. [...] Former top corporate executives often hold many of the most powerful cabinet and top agency positions in the executive branch of government.
- Companies like Booz Allen Hamilton and AT&T employ hordes of former top government officials, while hordes of current top defense officials are past (and likely future) employees of those same corporations. Constantly growing the surveillance state is a way to ensure that the government funds keep flowing, that the revolving door stays greased.
- Bush DOJ lawyer Jack Goldsmith hailed what he called "an underappreciated phenomenon: the patriotism of the American press". [...] The revolvind door moves the media figures into high-level Washington jobs, jut as government officials often leave office to the reward of a lucrative media contract.
- The factory farm industry and its armies of lobbyists wield great influence in the halls of federal and state power, while animal rights activists wield virtually none. This imbalance has produced increasingly oppressive laws, accompanied by massive law enforcement resources devoted to punishing animal activists even for the most inconsequential nonviolent infractions. [...] Though it receives modest attention, this revolving door spins faster, and in more blatantly sleazy ways, when it comes to the USDA and its mandate to safeguard animal welfare. The USDA is typically dominated by executives from the very factory farm industries that are most in need of vibrant regulation. For that reason, animal welfare laws are woefully inadequate, but the ways in which they are enforced is typically little more than a bad joke. Industrial farming corporations like Smithfield know they can get away with any abuse or “mislabeling” deceit (such as misleading claims about their treatment of animals) because the officials who have been vested with the sole authority to enforce these laws — federal USDA officials — are so captive to their industry. Courts have repeatedly ruled that private individuals, animal rights groups, and even state authorities have no right to sue to enforce animal welfare laws, because the “exclusive authority” lies with the U.S. government, which has no real interest in actually enforcing those laws. [...] In sum, with industry insiders dominating the sole agency (USDA) with the authority to regulate factory farms, animals that are captive, abused, tortured, and slaughtered en masse have little chance, even when it comes to just applying existing laws with a minimal amount of diligence. The politics of the U.S. — including the fact that a key farm state, Iowa, plays such a central role in presidential elections — means there are massive forces arrayed behind factory farms, and very few in support of animal welfare.
- Here’s a story that would be reported only in passing and remain remarkably uncommented upon by the punditocracy or anyone in Congress: seven months after that resignation, Mattis took up a position on the board of General Dynamics, one of the nation’s largest defense contractors, with all the perks involved. (Admittedly, he had been on that same board from the moment he retired from the military in 2013 until the president gave him the proverbial Trumpian bear hug and appointed him secretary of defense in 2017.) There were no columns about it. No pundits raised a storm. Nobody of any significance said much of anything. Oh, let me amend that for accuracy’s sake. There was indeed a public enthusiast quoted in the media: General Dynamics Chairwoman and CEO Phebe Novakovic, the head of a company that, just after Mattis's resignation, landed a $714 million delivery order to upgrade 174 Army M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks. [...] On the very board that Mattis rejoined sit six other former military officers and officials, including a former Navy admiral, a former Air Force general, a former deputy secretary of defense, and Novakovic herself who once worked for the CIA and the Pentagon. And while we’re on the subject, don’t forget about all those figures from the world of the weapons makers who have headed the other way like Mark Esper, the current secretary of defense, who was previously a lobbyist for Raytheon.