The Biden campaign declined to comment on the letter’s demands, which would likely block the transition democrats and a potential Biden government.
Biden’s team does a delicate dance with the left while trying to unite the party without alienating moderate voters. He has turned left on various policy issues, but has also pushed back on proposals such as the lifting of the police. Biden’s vice presidential selection, expected next week, is another test of the influence some of these groups have.
The left repeats its efforts in many ways from 2016. Many of the signatories of the letter sent a similar message to Hillary Clinton’s transition team. The organization Our Revolution, blessed by Sanders, was founded with the expectation that it would focus on trying to influence a Clinton administration.
Warren was aggressive in lobbying Clinton’s transition to personnel, particularly in the areas of ethics and private industry ties. Warren, who is considered a vice president, did not respond to comments as to whether she supports the current letter. Julie Siegel, a top Warren advisor, is a member of Biden’s transition team.
Progressives began targeting transition personnel after 2008, when they felt that Barack Obama had hired too many people with close ties to industry and Wall Street.
“Too often, the teams that create incoming administrations are full of figures working for business interests, undermining the frameworks that make way for collective prosperity,” the signatories wrote. “Unsurprisingly, the resulting administrations overwhelmingly reflect this inherent conflict of interest.”
Some on the left were encouraged when Biden appointed former Delaware senator and former Biden adviser Ted Kaufman to lead the transition effort, given his harsh approach on Wall Street during the Great Recession. Last month, Kaufman released a statement that the core values of the transition were “diversity of ideology and background,” “transparency,” and “the highest ethical standards to serve the American people and not special interests.”
The signatories also sent the letter to the Trump campaign. Spokesman Courtney Parella did not respond to her demands, but stated that “Biden has been the king of corruption for years, while his family cashed in on public positions,” noting his son Hunter and brother James. “If Joe Biden were in the White House, it would be more of the same corruption we’ve seen for decades.”
However, the signatories to the letter argued that Trump had exacerbated corruption in Washington despite promises to “ clear the swamp. ”
“For the past four years, the public has been subject to an endless parade of conflicting appointees who have enthusiastically begun to reverse the rules that once held the most destructive impulses from their former (and likely future) employers,” they wrote. “While business interests are benefiting from this regime, the American public is suffering.”