March 1, 2018
More Than 75 Trump Administration Lawyers Present Revolving Door Concerns, Public Citizen Finds
Top Revolving Door Issues Involving Lawyers Twice as Severe Under Trump as Under Obama
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The revolving door between the federal government and law firms that represent big, powerful corporations is spinning like never before under the Trump administration, a new Public Citizen report finds.
The report, “Big Law, Big Conflicts,” found that:
- Out of 127 senior Trump administration lawyers, 76 present revolving door concerns, meaning they previously represented companies with business before the government or worked in the same field they now oversee.
- The top revolving door issues involving lawyers are twice as severe in the Trump administration as they were in the Obama administration.
- Two law firms – Jones Day and Kirkland & Ellis – have shuffled nearly two dozen attorneys into the Trump administration.
The revolving door lawyers have gone from working for big corporations to overseeing the federal government’s interactions with those same big corporations. They have moved to the Trump administration from doing legal work and lobbying for BP, Ford Motor Co., Verizon, Koch Industries and many others.
“President Donald Trump has named revolving door corporate lawyers to run virtually every division of the Justice Department and revolving door corporate lawyers have grabbed key positions throughout the Trump administration,” said Public Citizen President Robert Weissman. “It should be no surprise, then, that the Trump administration is soft on corporate wrongdoers, giving polluters, scam artists, predatory lenders and other wrongdoers an easy pass. These revolving door lawyers are the enablers of the corporate takeover of our government.”
While many Trump administration lawyers have recused themselves from specific cases that involve their former clients, a narrow recusal does not solve the problem, according to Public Citizen. Having spent years defending corporate clients and absorbing their world view it defies common sense that such lawyers would readily pivot from representing BP to cracking down on Shell or ExxonMobil, Public Citizen maintains.
“These officials bring to the job a deep appreciation of the views of the corporations they will now help regulate,” said Alan Zibel, research director for Public Citizen’s Corporate Presidency Project and author of the report. “It would be folly to expect anything else of the Trump administration.”