By Alan Zibel and Taylor Lincoln
Call us crazy, but President Trump does not seem to take his often-repeated “drain the swamp” promise seriously.
Don’t take it from us. That’s what his close advisers say.
“If you had to put them into chronological order, drain the swamp is probably somewhere down the bottom,” compared with other Trump priorities, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said before Trump’s inauguration.
And former Trump adviser Steve Bannon recently recalled that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Trump not to use the “drain the swamp” theme in a post-election meeting.
The sad reality is that, instead of presaging a crackdown on lobbyists, Trump’s election was the opportunity of a lifetime for people in the influence business. Those with ties to Trump are racing to engage in the same behavior that Trump decried on the campaign trail: cashing in on insider connections, according to a report released today by Public Citizen. (Report, Press Release)
Based on an analysis of domestic and foreign lobbying reports, our findings are:
- 44 individuals with ties to Trump or Pence have acted as registered lobbyists in 2017. They are connected to billings and in-house lobbying expenditures in 2017 of nearly $42 million, with $32.2 million coming from domestic sources and $9.5 million from foreign entities.
- Seven of the 10 most lucrative lobbying clients for Trump or Pence-connected lobbyists have been foreign interests.
- At least 22 people who worked on the Trump transition team have worked as registered lobbyists so far in 2017. They are associated with $19 million in billings.
- At least five members of the Trump transition team were reported on federal lobbying forms covering the transition period as “no longer expected” to work as lobbyists, yet resumed lobbying for the same clients in the first half of 2017.
- At least four members of the Trump transition team or administration have said that they never signed ethics pledges that laid out restrictions on lobbying.
- Newcomers to Washington lobbying are prospering. For example, Brian Ballard, a well-known Florida lobbyist who had represented the Trump Organization in the Sunshine State, had never before acted as a federal lobbyist. After Trump was elected, Ballard opened a Washington, D.C., office, which billed 36 clients $5.2 million in the first half of 2017.
- Lobbyists in Vice President Mike Pence’s circle are also seeing an influx of new clients. Robert Grand, an Indianapolis lawyer and a longtime fundraiser for Vice President Mike Pence had acted as a lobbyist in recent years but had not signed a new federal client since 2013. So far in 2017, Grand signed 17 new clients.
See below for a breakout of lobbyists in the Trump circle:
|Firm||Lobbying Billings/In-House Lobbying Expenditures||Lobbyist Name(s)||Connection to Trump or Pence|
|Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck||$7,462,000||Lampkin, Marc||Founding Member of Pence's Great America Committee|
|Sonoran Policy Group||$5,705,000||Daniels, Jacob||Campaign chief of staff in Michigan, inaugural committee|
|Sonoran Policy Group||Jolly, Stuart (departed from firm)||National field director, political director Great America PAC|
|Sonoran Policy Group||Stryk, Robert||Unofficial West coast liaison for campaign|
|Ballard Partners||$5,180,666||Ballard, Brian||Trump's Florida lobbyist|
|Ballard Partners||McFaul, Dan||Trump transition team|
|American Continental Group||$3,200,000||Urban, David J||Trump campaign adviser in Indiana and Pennsylvania, liaison at GOP convention|
|Altria Client Services LLC||$2,550,000||Hayden, Cindy||Led homeland security for transition|
|Williams and Jensen||$2,290,000||J. Steven Hart||Leader of transition team for Department of Labor; departed transition team in mid-November.|
|Barnes & Thornburg LLP||$1,790,000||Grand, Robert T.||Pence fundraiser|
|Podesta Group Inc||$1,320,000||Maddox, Lauren||Provided confirmation assistance to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos|
|Holland & Knight LLP||$1,292,000||Mason, Scott||Trump congressional liaison|
|Navigators Global LLC||$1,135,000||Keiser, Andy||Former deputy national security adviser to transition team|
|Navigators Global LLC||Machida, Ado||Director of policy implementation for Trump transition|
|Avenue Strategies/Avenue Strategies Global||$1,005,000||Bennett, Barry||Former Carson campaign manager and Trump adviser|
|Avenue Strategies/Avenue Strategies Global||Brookover, Ed||Former Carson campaign manager fired from Trump campaign|
|Avenue Strategies/Avenue Strategies Global||Cummins, Bud||Arkansas state chairman for Trump campaign, transition team member|
|Avenue Strategies/Avenue Strategies Global||Osbourne, Jason (departed from firm)||Trump campaign adviser|
|Avenue Strategies/Avenue Strategies Global||Rubino, Michael (departed from firm)||Trump campaign, state work|
|Michael Torrey Associates, LLC||$960,000||Michael Torrey||Handled agriculture issues for the transition. Left in mid-November.|
|Whitmer & Worrall, LLC||$950,000||Whitmer, Martin||Handled transportation policy issues for the transition. Left in mid-November.|
|EY/Washington Council Ernst & Young||$830,000||Bradshaw, Tara||Treasury transition spokeswoman|
|McGuireWoods Consulting||$685,000||Wasinger, Robert||Director of Senate and gubernatorial outreach for campaign, worked on transition, brief tenure at State Department|
|FrogueClark, LLC||$680,000||Frogue, Jim||Health policy adviser to campaign, transition adviser on health care|
|Hohlt Group Global LLC/Richard Hohlt||$609,910||Hohlt, Richard F.||Chosen to be member of Commission on White House Fellowships|
|Devon Energy Production Company, LP||$460,000||Rosen, Rebecca||Worked on energy issues for transition|
|S-3 Group||$428,800||Collins, Robert||Worked on transition and led Gorsuch confirmation|
|Bose Public Affairs Group||$370,000||Smith, Victor||Former Indiana Secretary of Commerce, appointed by Pence|
|SMW Partners||$360,000||Sweeney, John||Former congressman, member of transition team, campaign counsel, New York labor secretary|
|Wiley Rein LLP||$360,000||Daly, Nova||Worked on trade issues for transition|
|Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting||$330,000||Wheeler, Andrew||Worked for transition and campaign.|
|Ogilvy Government Relations||$310,000||Albright, Clarence (Bud)||Worked on housing issues for transition, campaign policy adviser|
|Sextons Creek||$266,750||Smith, William Jr.||Former Pence chief of staff in Indiana and Pences House chief of staff since 2001|
|MWR Strategies||$240,000||McKenna, Michael||Lead Energy Department transition planning from pre-election through mid-November.|
|Aselus Strategies/ Mer Security And Communication Systems Ltd||$225,000||Jalil, Adnan||Trump campaign congressional liaison|
|Emerson||$210,000||Carter, James E||Worked on tax policy for transition|
|Pirro Group LLC||$122,517||Pirro, Albert Jr||Trump friend, Westchester County, N.Y. real estate lawyer jailed in tax evasion case, ex-husband of TV host Jeanine Pirro|
|Rasky Partners||$114,000||Tamasi, David||Finance chair of Trump Victory Fund (joint committee between Trump campaign and Republican party)|
|Rasky Partners||Tocco, Jessica||Former Pence intern, Trump transition|
|Baker & Hostetler LLP||$90,000||Murphy, Jim||Trump campaign national political director|
|The 45 Group||$85,000||Baumgardner-Nardone, Healy||Former Trump press aide who resigned during campaign|
|Gotham Government Relations||$50,000||Gerstman, Bradley||Campaign|
|Mercury||$50,000||Lanza, Bryan||Transition and campaign|
|Pitta Bishop & Del Giorno LLC||$20,000||Pitta, Vincent Esq||Longtime labor lawyer who represented workers at Trump businesses|
|Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative||$20,000||Torrey, Michael||Handled agriculture issues for the transition. Left in mid-November.|