Jan. 6, 2017
CorporateCabinet.org Tracks Trump Cabinet Picks
New Website Highlights Corporate Ties, Potential Conflicts of Interest of Top Political Appointees
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Media, activists, nonprofits, policymakers and others can now track the corporate ties of President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks and other top political appointees at CorporateCabinet.org.
Public Citizen today unveiled the website to expose corporate ties, corrupting influences and conflicts of interest in Trump’s Cabinet, which threatens to be more entangled with corporate interests than any Cabinet in recent memory. The site, which will be updated regularly, will eventually include other top officials such as deputy secretaries.
Many of the nominees have connections with corporations whose profit-driven interests are directly at odds with the federal agencies Trump has selected them to lead.
“Donald Trump, the candidate who ran against corruption, cronyism and insider dealmaking, is handing control of the government over to corporate chieftains,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “Trump’s corporate Cabinet nominees have staggering conflicts of interest, and if confirmed will drive forward policies to advance the interests of Big Business, not the American people. We’re facing the prospect of a government literally of the Exxons, by the Goldman Sachses and for the Kochs.”
The site has key information about:
- Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who has strong ties to Koch Industries and raked in eye-popping sums from the finance sector, construction industry, pharmaceutical industry and chemical industry;
- Rex Tillerson, Trump’s secretary of state pick, who made his career at Exxon Mobil;
- Steven Mnuchin, treasury secretary nominee and longtime Goldman Sachs executive who was steeped in the investment banking industry long before it became a poster child for economy-wrecking, foreclosure-inducing Wall Street greed, and who later helped run a failed bank accused of duplicitous foreclosure practices;
- General James Mattis, being considered for secretary of defense, who has served on the board of General Dynamics, a multinational military contractor;
- U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), under consideration for attorney general and a darling of the finance, insurance and real estate industries, among others;
- Betsy DeVos, named to be education secretary, who is a billionaire scion and whose husband is heir to the Amway fortune;
- Elaine Chao, up to run the U.S. Department of Transportation, who served on the board of directors of Wells Fargo during the cross-selling scandal;
- Former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn, slated to head the National Economic Council, who led Goldman Sachs as it profited off the housing market collapse in part by misleading its own clients;
- Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to the run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who has a deep affinity for fossil fuel companies;
- Steve Bannon, a special adviser to Trump who once ran Breitbart.com, a far-right website, and is a former Goldman Sachs executive;
- Linda McMahon, picked to run the Small Business Administration, who as World Wrestling Entertainment CEO helped ensure the wrestling industry remained largely unregulated, putting the health and safety of wrestlers at risk;
- Fast-food mogul Andy Puzder, who is to head the U.S. Department of Labor and whose companies are known for being anti-worker and anti-union; and
- Wilbur Ross, a billionaire whose firm has profited from buying distressed firms and cutting workers’ benefits, who is under consideration for secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
- Public Citizen is a longtime watchdog that has called for measures to curb corporate influence over government.