Mother Jones: Progressives Tell Biden: Appointees Must Be Diverse and Free of Corporate Ties

October 20, 2020 Media

Election Day is still two weeks away, but progressives are already ramping up their efforts to influence who gets to serve in a potential Biden administration. In a new letter sent to the Biden transition team, a coalition of lefty organizations are demanding that the new administration be free of corporate influence and that it commit to a minimum diversity goal for its appointees.

The letter, spearheaded by the American Economic Liberties Project, a group that fights against monopolies and corporate power, urges the Biden transition co-chairs to appoint women, people of color, and members of underrepresented communities to least half of all positions. It also calls for all appointees to be free of corporate or lobbying ties.

“First, you should build upon President Obama’s efforts to strengthen the diversity of the federal workforce,” the letter says. “Second, you should appoint only individuals who have a strong track record of standing up to corporate power and whose commitment to public service is unimpeachable.”

This new letter seeks to address this concern head-on. “It’s a notion we reject,” says Morgan Harper, a senior adviser to the American Economic Liberties Project. “There are people who represent the interests of this country who reflect its diversity and are independent from corporate interests. Corporate interests are already overrepresented at this very important point of rebuilding the economy.”

To achieve their goals, the cosigners urge the Biden transition team to “make a concerted effort to look outside the beltway for individuals whose experiences will bring unique perspectives and skills to federal service.” They add: “While all appointees must have experience that qualifies them for the positions they hold, non-traditional experience or credentials should be considered to expand the pool of possible candidates.”