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Lobbyists Profit off Trump-Pence Ties As Swamp Remains Un-Drained

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:

FirmLobbying Billings/In-House Lobbying Expenditures Lobbyist Name(s)Connection to Trump or Pence
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck$7,462,000 Lampkin, MarcFounding Member of Pence's Great America Committee
Sonoran Policy Group$5,705,000 Daniels, JacobCampaign chief of staff in Michigan, inaugural committee
Sonoran Policy GroupJolly, Stuart (departed from firm)National field director, political director Great America PAC
Sonoran Policy GroupStryk, RobertUnofficial West coast liaison for campaign
Ballard Partners$5,180,666 Ballard, BrianTrump's Florida lobbyist
Ballard PartnersMcFaul, DanTrump transition team
American Continental Group$3,200,000 Urban, David JTrump campaign adviser in Indiana and Pennsylvania, liaison at GOP convention
Altria Client Services LLC$2,550,000 Hayden, CindyLed homeland security for transition
Williams and Jensen$2,290,000 J. Steven HartLeader 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, LaurenProvided confirmation assistance to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos
Holland & Knight LLP$1,292,000 Mason, ScottTrump congressional liaison
Navigators Global LLC$1,135,000 Keiser, AndyFormer deputy national security adviser to transition team
Navigators Global LLCMachida, AdoDirector of policy implementation for Trump transition
Avenue Strategies/Avenue Strategies Global$1,005,000 Bennett, BarryFormer Carson campaign manager and Trump adviser
Avenue Strategies/Avenue Strategies GlobalBrookover, EdFormer Carson campaign manager fired from Trump campaign
Avenue Strategies/Avenue Strategies GlobalCummins, BudArkansas state chairman for Trump campaign, transition team member
Avenue Strategies/Avenue Strategies GlobalOsbourne, Jason (departed from firm)Trump campaign adviser
Avenue Strategies/Avenue Strategies GlobalRubino, Michael (departed from firm)Trump campaign, state work
Michael Torrey Associates, LLC$960,000 Michael TorreyHandled agriculture issues for the transition. Left in mid-November.
Whitmer & Worrall, LLC$950,000 Whitmer, MartinHandled transportation policy issues for the transition. Left in mid-November.
EY/Washington Council Ernst & Young$830,000 Bradshaw, TaraTreasury transition spokeswoman
McGuireWoods Consulting$685,000 Wasinger, RobertDirector of Senate and gubernatorial outreach for campaign, worked on transition, brief tenure at State Department
FrogueClark, LLC$680,000 Frogue, JimHealth 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, RebeccaWorked on energy issues for transition
S-3 Group$428,800 Collins, RobertWorked on transition and led Gorsuch confirmation
Bose Public Affairs Group$370,000 Smith, VictorFormer Indiana Secretary of Commerce, appointed by Pence
SMW Partners$360,000 Sweeney, JohnFormer 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, AndrewWorked 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 Pence’s House chief of staff since 2001
MWR Strategies$240,000 McKenna, MichaelLead Energy Department transition planning from pre-election through mid-November.
Aselus Strategies/ Mer Security And Communication Systems Ltd$225,000 Jalil, AdnanTrump campaign congressional liaison
Emerson$210,000 Carter, James EWorked on tax policy for transition
Pirro Group LLC$122,517 Pirro, Albert JrTrump 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, DavidFinance chair of Trump Victory Fund (joint committee between Trump campaign and Republican party)
Rasky PartnersTocco, JessicaFormer Pence intern, Trump transition
Baker & Hostetler LLP$90,000 Murphy, JimTrump campaign national political director
The 45 Group$85,000 Baumgardner-Nardone, HealyFormer Trump press aide who resigned during campaign
Gotham Government Relations$50,000 Gerstman, BradleyCampaign
Mercury$50,000 Lanza, BryanTransition and campaign
Pitta Bishop & Del Giorno LLC$20,000 Pitta, Vincent EsqLongtime labor lawyer who represented workers at Trump businesses
Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative$20,000 Torrey, MichaelHandled agriculture issues for the transition. Left in mid-November.