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‘Send Special Interests Packing’? Trump Already Has Broken That Pledge

Jan. 19, 2017

‘Send Special Interests Packing’? Trump Already Has Broken That Pledge

Trump’s Inaugural Committee Is Packed With Billionaires and Corporate Insiders

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Despite President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to “send the special interests packing,” a Public Citizen analysis of donors to his inaugural committee suggests that entrenched corporate interests and wealthy Republican donors will have significant influence over the incoming administration.

The 19 members of the inaugural committee are largely responsible for soliciting donations and likely have made donations themselves.

“Voters who put Trump into office might be surprised and disappointed to know that the man who claimed to be a Washington outsider and promised to purge corporate elites from the government already is cozying up to some of the wealthiest Republican insiders in the country,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “Far from draining the swamp, Trump is stocking it with alligators and snakes.”

Key members of the inaugural committee include:

  • Sheldon Adelson and Dr. Miriam Adelson, who contributed $5 million toward Trump’s inauguration. A major Republican donor with a net worth of more than $31 billion, Sheldon Adelson is chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, the largest casino corporation in the U.S.
  • Thomas Barrack Jr., the committee’s chair and primary spokesperson. Barrack founded the $34 billion firm Colony Capital, which recently completed a merger with NorthStar Asset Management, making the merged $58 billion company the fifth-largest real estate management firm in the world.
  • Gail Icahn, wife of billionaire corporate raider Carl Icahn, who has a net worth of more than $16 billion and is Trump’s pick to serve as the president’s special adviser on regulatory reform.
  • Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets and a top Republican fundraiser.
  • Phil Ruffin, co-owner of Trump International in Las Vegas and owner of Treasure Island Resort and Casino and other properties. Ruffin donated $1 million to the inauguration.
  • Ron Weiser, a Republican fundraiser and ambassador to Slovakia under President George H.W. Bush.
  • Steve Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas.
  • Roy Bailey, a partner and managing director of Giuliani LLC, the consulting firm founded and led by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Bailey also is a former finance chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.