Senator Warren and Representative Jayapal Press Secretary Raimondo for Answers on Big Tech Revolving Door at Commerce Department
Lawmakers are concerned about revolving door because “Big Tech’s digital trade agenda threatens protections for consumer privacy and worker safety and efforts to combat discrimination, misinformation, and disinformation.
Washington D.C. – United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo underscoring the dangers of Big Tech’s digital trade agenda. This follows up on a letter the lawmakers sent to Secretary Raimondo in July requesting additional information about the revolving door between Commerce and Big Tech and its potential impact on global digital trade rules.
For years the U.S. has negotiated trade deals in secret, with corporate lobbyists weighing in behind closed doors while the public is left out, producing trade rules that reward offshoring and sell out hard working Americans. One reason for these skewed deals is the existence of a revolving door of high-level staff between Big Tech firms and the Commerce Department. The lawmakers expressed concern that these unethical practices will continue to hurt workers and consumers as Commerce takes the lead in negotiating new digital trade agreements.
Sen. Warren and Rep. Jayapal wrote to Sec. Raimondo earlier this year to raise concerns about the revolving door. The Secretary provided a response from her staff in August, which failed to provide information on which Department employees involved in negotiating free trade agreements were previously employed by Big Tech firms, and their roles in these negotiations. It also did not provide information on how the Department would address the untoward influence of Big Tech on free trade agreements.
“We are concerned about the role of these and similar individuals in shaping digital trade policy because Big Tech’s digital trade agenda threatens protections for consumer privacy and worker safety and efforts to combat discrimination, misinformation, and disinformation,” wrote the lawmakers.
Given Commerce’s involvement in negotiating trade pacts like the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) with digital trade components, the lawmakers are asking that the Department provide answers to their questions from the previous letter no later than November 4, 2022.
Senator Warren has long pushed to end corrupt revolving door practices, curb Big Tech’s growing power, and protect consumer data.
- In July 2022, Senator Warren and Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo raising questions about the revolving door between the Department of Commerce and Big Tech companies, and its potential impact on global digital trade rules.
- In March 2022, in a letter to Secretary Raimondo, Senator Warren raised concerns that Secretary Raimondo’s comments appeared to undermine the Biden Administration’s trade and regulatory proposals for big tech.
- Last month, Senator Warren, along with Representatives Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), sent a letter to three government watchdogs regarding troubling reports of Intuit’s abuse of the revolving door and the company’s hiring of former federal regulators and influence-peddlers to defend its shady business practices.
- In February 2022, Senator Warren and Representative Jayapal called on two inspectors general to open an investigation into the unethical revolving door between the world’s largest accounting firms and the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service.
- In July 2019, Senator Warren wrote to Commerce’s Designated Agency Ethics Official regarding potentially serious conflicts of interest for the two most senior Commerce officials responsible for managing exemptions from President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs.
- Senator Warren and Representative Jayapal introduced the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act, which, if passed into law, would firmly shut the revolving door.
Next Article Previous Article