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36 Former Lobbyists Working for Trump Have Clear Conflicts of Interest

By Craig Holman

More than three dozen former lobbyists who serve in the Trump Administration handle the same specific issues on which they lobbied within the past two years, a new Public Citizen report shows, revealing what appears to be a breach of President Trump’s own ethics rules.

Trump promised to “drain the swamp” when he got to Washington, D.C. He issued an ethics executive order allowing former lobbyists to immediately join the administration. To lessen conflicts of interest, they are not permitted to work on “specific issue areas” that they lobbied on unless they receive a waiver.

Yet Donald Trump’s appointments have included not just former lobbyists, but dozens of lobbyists whose governmental responsibilities fall into the same specific issue areas on which they lobbied within the past two years. Of 36 such appointees, only four have received waivers from the ethics rules.

The numbers of lobbyist-appointees with conflicts of interest reflect the widespread disregard for ethics in the Trump administration. There appears to be very little awareness of the ethics rules among appointees and even less willingness to enforce these rules by the White House itself.”

The report, titled “The Company We Keep: Lobbyists and the Prevalence of Conflicts of Interest in the Trump Administration,” identifies 133 former lobbyists appointed to posts in the administration, 36 of which have clear conflicts of interest and another 13 of which are in positions described so vaguely that it is not possible to determine whether a conflict exists.

The report was written by Craig Holman, Ph.D., government affairs lobbyist; and Alex Brown, researcher, at Public Citizen. Public Citizen Researcher Gizela Thomas also contributed to the report.

DepartmentNameTitleConflicting Clients
AgricultureRussell LairdSpecial AssistantNational Cooperative Services Corporation (2011-2016)
CommerceEarl ComstockDirector, Office of Policy and Strategic PlanningSwiss Airlines (2015)
EducationTaylor Hansen*Special Assistant to the SecretaryAssociation of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (2016).
EnergyWilliam GreeneAssistant to the SecretarySafari Club International on issues relating to resource conservation (Q12016)
EnergyMark MaddoxAssistant to the SecretaryNoranda Aluminum (2009-Q22015), General Synfuels International (2014-2015)
Health and Human ServicesTimothy ClarkSenior Advisor to the SecretaryEsai Inc (2014-Q12017)
Health and Human ServicesLance LeggittSenior Advisor to the SecretaryAll American Medical Supplies (2013-2015), Advanced Diabetes Supply (2011-2015), Advanced Infusion Services 2011-Q32016), Arriva Medical (2011-Q42016), and others. Granted Waiver
Health and Human ServicesKeagan LenihanSenior Advisor to the SecretaryMcKesson Corporation and Its Affiliate US Oncology (2011-2016)
Health and Human ServicesSteven ValentineSpecial Assistant Partners Healthcare (2015-16) and American Water Enterprise Group (2011, 2015)
Homeland SecurityKevin CarrollSpecial AdvisorFinancial Markets Association, including DHS lobbying (2010-2016)
Homeland SecurityJulie KirchnerAdvisorFederation for American Immigration Reform (2008-2015)
Homeland SecurityChad WolfAdvisor Pershing Square Capital (2014-2016), Cintas Corp. on labor (2014-2016), ABB (robotics and cybersecurity from 2014-2016), Analogic (aviation security as recent as 2015), and others
InteriorDaniel Fisher*Miscellaneous Clerk and AssistantAmerican Concrete Pressure Pipe Association, Associated Equipment Distributors, and Aeronautical Repair station Association on Taxes, aviation regulation, labor, and energy (Keystone pipeline) from 2009-2017.
LaborByron AndersonSpecial Assistant to the SecretaryAmerican General Corp (1999-2001) and Transamerica Companies (2007-2016) on Consumer and network issues, including Labor
LaborGeoffrey BurrSpecial Assistant to the SecretaryAssociated Builders and Contractors Inc (contracting, regulations, Injuries, general Labor, 2003-2015)
Office of the Secretary of DefenseJustin MikolaySpecial AssistantPalantir Technology, including advocating its software in intelligence and defense organizations, (2015 and 2016)
Trade and DevelopmentPeter BarrettSenior AdvisorNational Association of State Treasurers on taxes, municpal funds and regluaton of money markets (2012-2015)
TransportationErika Baum
Executive Assistant to the Secretary
General Mills 2011-2017, including transportaion issues in 2015, Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. 1999 -2001
TransportationChristopher HessSpecial AdvisorAdvanced Engine Systems Institute from 2011-2017, Eaton Corp from 2008-2017 on issues involving air quality, fuels, and vehicals
TransportationAllison MoorePress SecretaryFresh Produce Association of the Americas (2008-Q42016), including transportation issues in 2015 and 2016
TreasuryAndrew SmithAdvisorTax issues for Distilled Spirits Council (2015-2017)
US Trade Rep.Stephen VaughnGeneral CounselU.S. Steel (2014-2015) on trade laws
TransportationAnthony BedellAssistant Secretary for Intergovernmental AffairsTransurban (2017)
InteriorDavid BernhardtDeputy Secretary of the InteriorActive Network LLC (DOT, 2015-2016), Westlands Water District (2011-2016)
Executive Office of the PresidentMichael CatanzaroSpecial Assistant to the President for Domestic Energy and Environmental Policy, National Economic CouncilAmerica's Natural Gas Alliance (2015), American Fuel and Petrochemicals (2016-Q12017), Bradford White Corporation (2015-2017), Devon Energy Corporation (2015-Q12017)
JusticeMakan DelrahimAssistant Attorney GeneralCeasar's Enterprise Services (Harrah's casinos, 2009-2016), LaLiga (relating to copyrights, 2015-2016), Pfizer (2015-2016), UFC (2016), Qualcomm (copyrights, 2008-2016)
CommerceGilbert B KaplanUndersecretary for International TradeAppvion to Dept. of Commerce (2008-2016), Coalition for Fair Paper Imports (2012-2016), Zekelman Industries (2007-2016), Micron Technologies (2005-2015)
Executive Office of the PresidentShahira KnightSpecial Assistant to the President for Tax and Retirement Policy, NECFidelity Charitable Gift Fund (Taxes, 2012-2016), FMR LLC (Fidelity investments, 2012-2016). Waiver
Executive Office of the PresidentAndrew OlmemSpecial Assistant to the President for Financial PolicyAmerican Express (2015-2017), Angelo, Gordon & Company on banking (2015-2017), Aon Service Corp (2015-2017), BlueMountain Capital Management (2015-2017), D. E. Shaw Galvanic Portfolio (2015-2016), Electronic Transactions Association (2013-2017), GE (2015-2016), Franklin Advisers (2015-2017), Knighthead Capital Management (2015-2016), Marathon Asset Management (2015-2016), MetLife (2014-2017), S&P Global (2014-2017)
Environmental ProtectionAndrew WheelerDeputy AdministratorBear Head Lng Corporation (natural gas/energy, 2015-2016), Energy Fuels Resources Inc (energy and national resources, 2017), Murray Energy (energy, 2009-2016), Underwriters Labratories (energy, 2015-2017), Xcel Energy (2013-2016)
Executive Office of the PresidentGeorge David BanksSpecial Assistant to the President for International Energy and Environment, National Economic CouncilAmerican Council for Capital Formation (Energy, tax and environment issues 2015-2016)
AgricultureKristi BoswellSenior AdvisorAmerican Farm Bureau (2012-Q12017)
TransportationChris BrownAssociate Administrator for Government and Industry AffairsAir Transportation Association of America (2011-Q12015).
Housing and Urban DevelopmentMichael DendasSenior AdvisorHousing Issues for Home Depot (2015)
Health and Human ServicesCourtney LawrenceN/AAmerica's Health Insurance Plans, Inc (2014-2017)
Office of Management and BudgetJoseph GroganN/AGillead Science (2011-2017, including OMB)