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FIRST ON FOX: The Center for American Progress (CAP), a leading progressive think tank, has a large influence on federal policymaking with many of its former employees flocking to high-level administration roles.
The think tank’s extensive influence in the Biden administration was on particular display in an April 2021 email exchange between Christy Goldfuss, CAP’s senior vice president for energy and environment policy, and Jesse Young, a senior State Department adviser.
In the correspondence, which was obtained via record request by watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) and shared with Fox News Digital, Goldfuss explained that she was late in responding to emails because CAP’s staff had been depleted by the administration.
“You all keep taking our good people … so it’s safe to say that I’m a little behind,” Goldfuss told Young in the email.
Center for American Progress’ Christy Goldfuss complains in an email to senior State Department adviser Jesse Young that the administration keeps hiring many of the think tank’s employees. (Protect the Public’s Trust)
In addition, President Biden hired CAP founder and chairman John Podesta as a senior White House clean energy czar this month. Podesta will be tasked with overseeing roughly $370 billion in climate spending appropriated by the Inflation Reduction Act.
“We are fortunate that John Podesta will lead our continued innovation and implementation,” the president said in a statement on Sept. 2. “His deep roots in climate and clean energy policy and his experience at senior levels of government mean we can truly hit the ground running to take advantage of the massive clean energy opportunity in front of us.”
The White House also hired Neera Tanden, who served as CAP’s president between 2011-2021, as a senior adviser and staff secretary last year. Biden initially nominated her to lead the powerful Office of Management and Budget, but she withdrew her nomination after facing heavy criticism and scrutiny into her previous statements.
In addition to Podesta and Tanden, dozens of current administration officials, including White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, top White House economic adviser Brian Deese, senior White House economic adviser Gene Sperling, Veteran Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough and Department of Defense Chief of Staff Kelly Magsamen, have all previously held positions at CAP, according to employment records and government watchdog Open Secrets.
John Podesta listens as President Biden delivers remarks during a White House cabinet meeting on Sept. 6. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
President Biden’s senior adviser Anita Dunn, who returned to the White House in May amid Biden’s slumping poll numbers, has also performed consulting work for CAP, her financial disclosures show.
“As Protect the Public’s Trust has discovered from tracking ethics waivers granted to political appointees, the revolving door connecting lobbying firms and activist organizations with powerful posts in federal agencies in the Biden Administration is spinning furiously,” PPT Director Michael Chamberlain told Fox News Digital.
“This has happened to such an extent that the organizations themselves are commenting, although facetiously, about losing all their good people,” he continued. “Considering a number of incidents PPT has uncovered in which appointees have appeared to cross the line between their advocacy and their public service, it’s almost enough to make the public wonder who is really calling the shots.”
CAP’s influence within the Biden White House began months before he entered office. In late 2020, a half dozen of the group’s employees joined Biden’s transition team in the Treasury, Federal Reserve, Labor Department, Interior Department, National Security Council and Office of the United States Trade Representative.
The Center for American Progress’ influence with the Biden administration dates back to his transition team before he entered office. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The influential think tanks’ tentacles have only grown since then. As of mid-2021, nearly 70 CAP employees left the group to fill key posts within the administration, Business Insider reported.
Meanwhile, Patrick Gaspard, who acted as president of George Soros’ Open Society Foundations before taking over as CAP’s president when Tanden joined the White House, also enjoys a direct pipeline to the administration.
Gaspard visited the White House a handful of times this year and has met directly with Biden, a Fox News Digital review of visitor logs found. During another visit, Gaspard met with Richard Figueroa, another former CAP employee who is now a White House policy adviser focusing on race and ethnicity, according to his LinkedIn profile.
The White House and CAP did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.
Thomas Catenacci is a politics writer at Fox News Digital