An Anti-Regulatory Extremist Has Been Picked for No. 2 at DOJ

Feb. 19, 2019

An Anti-Regulatory Extremist Has Been Picked for No. 2 at DOJ

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Note: President Donald Trump today nominated Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Rosen to be the next deputy attorney general.

Jeffrey Rosen is an anti-regulatory extremist and an exemplar of revolving door politics — a lawyer for the airlines, auto industry and U.S. Chamber of Commerce who has been in and out of the U.S. Department of Transportation and aggressively advanced his former clients’ perspectives when inside of government.

As No. 2 at the U.S. Department of Transportation, he has pushed for repeal of the Obama administration’s clean car standards, the most far-reaching climate change measure of the Obama administration, which not so incidentally would save consumers $100 billion at the pump.

Here’s about all you need to know: Rosen pushed for a rollback of the clean car standards that was so severe, and based on such thin evidence, that the former coal lobbyist who now heads the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, tried to slow things down, arguing that the public justification for the rollback at least should be better prepared. Former auto industry lawyer Rosen argued that former coal industry lobbyist Wheeler’s caution was misplaced, because the U.S. Supreme Court would take care of things. Rosen won the internal Trump fight on this.

Right now, the independence of the Department of Justice is simultaneously in greater jeopardy and more vital than at any time in the past 50 years. With Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation reportedly nearing conclusion, the Department of Justice needs leadership of proven integrity, independence and commitment to the rule of law. Jeffrey Rosen’s record does not meet that test, and it should disqualify him from the No. 2 position at the Department of Justice.