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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden is getting mixed marks for his reliance on industry insiders to staff his administration during its first 100 days.

Why it matters: Progressives have leaned on the new president to limit the revolving door between industry and government. A new report from the Revolving Door Project praises him on that front but highlights key hires it deems ethically questionable.

What they're saying: "Biden has proven to be the least-captured and most public-oriented president of any of our lifetimes," says the group, a project of progressive think tank, the Center for Economic and Policy Research. That said, "the bar is low."

  • Its new report gives Biden an overall grade of B-, praising his hiring in areas including energy and environmental policy, financial regulation and tech policy.
  • “President Biden has instituted what one leading expert called the 'strongest, most ambitious' ethics plan in the history of the White House, and our administration has worked hard to put in place leaders across government who will put the American people first in any decision they make," White House spokesman Mike Gwin said in a statement on the report.

At the same time, the report knocks his administration for drawing talent from the "military-industrial complex."

  • "Biden’s pick of Lloyd Austin — a former Raytheon board member— has done little to challenge the military-industrial complex when it comes to staffing the administration," the Revolving Door Project says.
  • It also calls out hires from defense contractor-funded think tanks, such as the Center for a New American Security, where Biden intelligence director Avril Haines served as a board member, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which employed top Pentagon official Kathleen Hicks.

The Revolving Door Project is particularly harsh on the Biden administration's self-imposed restrictions on registered lobbyists.

  • "They were exploiting a common misconception of how Washington’s influence industry works: Many of corporate America’s most powerful political hatchet-men never register as lobbyists," the report notes.
  • While former registered lobbyists in Biden's administration are rare, it has drawn talent at the highest levels from firms that monetize political connections, such as WestExec Advisors.
  • The consultancy was co-founded by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and also employed Haines.

Yes, but: While the Revolving Door Project is largely laudatory of administration hiring practices, it credits Biden for drawing from a different sort of revolving door.

  • Biden gets Bs for hiring talent from organizations more commonly favored by progressives, such as labor and public-interest nonprofits.
  • Anti-revolving door measures imposed by a Biden executive order in January make explicit allowances for conflicts with such organizations.
  • The administration also has waived ethics rules for a number of officials with those sorts of conflicts.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify Avril Haines' role at CNAS. She served on the organization's board, she was not "employed" by it.

Go deeper

Biden plans to nominate Stacey Dixon as No. 2 intelligence official

Joe Biden. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Joe Biden nominated Stacey Dixon on Wednesday to become the principal deputy director of National Intelligence, the nation's second highest intelligence post, per a White House press release.

Why it matters: If confirmed by the Senate, Dixon would be the first Black woman to hold the position, according to the New York Times.

Misinformation is just one part of a vaccine trust problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 is the first major pandemic in the social media era — offering experts a rare opening to study the relationship between online misinformation and human behavior on a large scale.

Why it matters: As misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines runs rampant, researchers are trying to measure how much memes and messages with false information can alter someone's decision to get vaccinated.

30 mins ago - World

Israel's "change bloc" collapses, leaving Netanyahu in charge

Bennett (L) with Netanyahu in 2015. Photo: Gali Tibbon/AFP via Getty Images

In a dramatic shift that comes amid fighting in the Gaza strip and clashes between Jewish and Arab citizens in Israel, right-wing kingmaker Naftali Bennett has announced he will no longer seek an alternative government to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Why it matters: Bennett had been on the verge of a power-sharing deal with centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid that would have made him prime minister for two years until Lapid rotated into the job. Without Bennett, Lapid has no path to a majority, and Israel will almost certainly head for its fifth election since 2019 with Netanyahu still in his post.