June 21, 2017
Nearly 70 Percent of Trump’s Picks for Top Administration Jobs Have Corporate Ties
Lobbyists, Lawyers and Corporate Executives Thrive in Trump’s Washington, D.C., Swamp Despite Pledge to Clean Up Washington, Public Citizen Analysis Finds
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump has packed his administration with corporate executives, corporate lawyers, corporate lobbyists and corporate consultants, directly contradicting his pledge to upend the “failed and corrupt” political establishment, according to a new report issued today by Public Citizen.
The Public Citizen analysis of 115 sub-Cabinet officials nominated or announced by the White House reveals extensive ties to corporate America.
Of the White House’s nominees for these jobs, 80 people, or nearly 70 percent of sub-Cabinet officials, had a clear corporate connection, having worked in a corporate job or done corporate legal work or corporate consulting. The remaining 35 had no direct corporate ties, though many are nevertheless ideologically committed to a deregulatory agenda that would benefit powerful corporate interests at consumers’ expense.
“Giant corporations have taken control of the government,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “In the Trump administration, auto industry lobbyists are setting transportation policy, Boeing has a top perch at the Department of Defense, Wall Street is in control of financial policy and regulatory agencies, and corporate defense lawyers staff the key positions in the Justice Department. In Washington, D.C., personnel is policy, and the occupation of key government positions by corporate insiders ensures corporate cronyism on a scale with few if any precedents in American history.”
The analysis found that Trump’s nominees represent a who’s who of major lobbying firms, law firms and corporate titans. They include:
● 29 current or former executives at companies including Boeing Co., Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Invesco Ltd., Exelon and Bear Stearns. Many of these companies have cultivated ties to the administration, including Boeing, which gave $1 million to pay for Trump’s inauguration.
● 26 corporate lawyers from major firms including Kirkland & Ellis, Dechert, Sullivan & Cromwell, Jones Day and Mayer Brown. Filling top Justice Department posts are a lawyer who represented the tobacco industry, a lawyer who fought federal regulations for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a lawyer who represented BP in the Gulf disaster.
● 15 current or former registered lobbyists from lobbying firms including Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, King & Spalding and Ogilvy Government Relations as well as several registered lobbyists who have worked directly for corporate interests.
● 10 corporate consultants who did work for companies including Lockheed Martin and Hewlett-Packard, including a former congresswoman who has faced ethical questions over her work helping Lockheed keep a key nuclear weapons laboratory contract.
The analysis includes all of Trump’s nominees for sub-Cabinet roles such as deputy secretary and general counsel at federal agencies, but it excludes ambassadors due to their lack of involvement in domestic policy.
“Trump’s populist campaign rhetoric played upon legitimate public frustration with the flood of lobbyist cash and corporate influence in Washington,” said Alan Zibel, a Public Citizen researcher and the report’s lead author. “But the reality of the Trump administration has been the opposite. It’s open season for corporate lobbyists in Donald Trump’s Washington, and the most powerful corporations in America have plenty of former colleagues and friends in the new administration.”
Read the report here.