Progressive dissatisfaction with the Biden administration escalated overnight when the progressive organization Justice Democrats in a statement Tuesday criticized President-elect Joe Biden’s reported plans to make “corporate-friendly appointments” to his administration.

“If Joe Biden continues making corporate-friendly appointments to his White House, he will risk quickly fracturing the hard-earned goodwill his team built with progressives to defeat Donald Trump,” Justice Democrats Executive Director Alexandra Rojas said in a statement, echoing similar threats voiced previously from the ultra-progressive “squad.”

“A Biden administration dominated by corporate-friendly insiders like [former Biden chief of staff] Steve Ricchetti and [Rep.] Cedric Richmond [D-La.] will not help the President-elect usher in the most progressive Democratic administration in generations,” she added.

The statement went on to outline Ricchetti’s history as a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry and the donations Richmond has received from the fossil fuel industry.

“This move gives greater urgency for Joe Biden to create an office of Climate Mobilization on Day One and appoint progressives with records standing up to the fossil fuel industry,” Rojas added. “Progressives make up nearly half of the Democratic Party’s seats in the House of Representatives and should receive adequate representation in the Biden administration.”

The statement outlined Ricchetti’s history as a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry and the donations Richmond has received from the fossil fuel industry.

“This move gives greater urgency for Joe Biden to create an office of Climate Mobilization on Day One and appoint progressives with records standing up to the fossil fuel industry,” Rojas added. “Progressives make up nearly half of the Democratic Party’s seats in the House of Representatives and should receive adequate representation in the Biden administration.”

Adding to the anger, former Bernie Sanders senior advisor David Sirota wrote that “following a campaign promising bold climate action, president-elect Joe Biden’s transition team named one of the Democratic Party’s top recipients of fossil fuel industry money to a high-profile White House position focusing in part on climate issues.”

READ ALSO  Inequality And The Gold Standard

On Tuesday, Politico reported that Biden is appointing U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., to lead the White House Office of Public Engagement, where he is “expected to serve as a liaison with the business community and climate change activists.” Richmond, a national co-chair of Biden’s campaign, announced Monday that he will serve as a senior adviser and assistant to Biden as president, a role that has been compared to that of Valerie Jarrett in the Obama administration. Richmond is currently the only Democratic and only Black member of Louisiana’s House delegation.

During his 10 years in Congress, Richmond has received roughly $341,000 from donors in the oil and gas industry — the 5th highest total among House Democrats, according to previous reporting by Sludge. That includes corporate political action committee donations of $50,000 from Entergy, an electric and natural gas utility; $40,000 from ExxonMobil; and $10,000 apiece from oil companies Chevron, Phillips 66 and Valero Energy.

According to Sirota, Richmond has raked in that money while representing a congressional district that is home to 7 of the 10 most air-polluted census tracts in the country.

Richmond has repeatedly broken with his party on major climate and environmental votes. During the climate crisis that has battered his home state of Louisiana, Richmond has joined with Republicans to vote to increase fossil fuel exports and promote pipeline development. He also voted against Democratic legislation to place pollution limits on fracking — and he voted for GOP legislation to limit the Obama administration’s authority to more stringently regulate the practice. 

Overall, Richmond has received a lifetime rating of 76 percent from the League of Conservation Voters, and he scored 46 percent in 2018 — one of the lowest ratings of any Democrat in Congress. 

Additionally, Richmond, who served as a co-chair of the Biden campaign, has not committed to supporting a Green New Deal. In a post-election interview with CBS Face the Nation, Richmond said: “When we govern, we will govern with our values but when we can’t pass legislation, we shouldn’t be out there talking about it.”

READ ALSO  Key Time for Gold – NorthmanTrader

Biden has promised a $1.7 trillion plan to combat climate change, and has said the cause is one of his top priorities. During the Democratic primary, his campaign was criticized for working with an energy adviser linked to the fossil fuel industry while promoting a “middle ground” climate policy and opposing a ban on fracking. He was also criticized for attending a major fundraiser by a fossil fuel investor, even as he pledged to reject campaign money from fossil fuel industry sources.

Biden is reportedly considering former Obama Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz for a cabinet spot or for a new international climate envoy post, according to the New York Times. Climate groups have called on Biden to reject Moniz for any position because he joined the board of directors at the electric utility Southern Company after his time in the Obama administration. Moniz has also been a fracking advocate.


Via Zerohedge