Note: This press release was updated to clarify which rule could affect Trump’s golf courses.
Oct. 11, 2017
Trump’s Deregulatory Agenda Could Boost Family Business
Report: Six Deregulatory Actions Could Benefit Trump Organization and Endanger the Public
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump’s deregulatory agenda could boost the bottom line of his businesses, and in some instances, Trump’s financial interests are directly at odds with protecting the public, a new report from Public Citizen and U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) shows.
The conflicts of interest stem from Trump’s refusal to divest from his business empire before taking office. Instead, Trump maintains his ownership stake in his businesses, setting the stage for unprecedented opportunities for the president to profit by wiping out protections. The report details six deregulatory actions or proposals by the Trump administration that could greatly benefit Trump’s business and financial interests and an additional 12 potential conflicts that point to the need for greater transparency.
Public Citizen released “Deregulating for Dollars: How Donald Trump’s Reckless Anti-Regulation Agenda Could Boost His Own Pocketbook,” to coincide with Cicilline’s introduction today of the DRAIN the Swamp Act, which would bring transparency to the public on how Trump and top government officials could profit from deregulation.
“I want to thank Public Citizen for helping to shine a light on an urgent problem in Washington. Donald Trump promised to drain the swamp, but that’s not what he’s doing. He’s undermining regulations in order to benefit himself, his family and his close friends,” said Cicilline. “The American people deserve to know that the president is acting in the public interest, not in his own financial interests.”
“Trump’s unprecedented conflicts are troubling, not just because they enable the president to shamelessly pursue self-enrichment schemes,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “They have far-reaching policy impacts, undermining the health, safety and other protections that improve our quality of life.”
The rules highlighted in Public Citizen’s report that have either been killed or are at risk include:
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules to protect Americans’ drinking water and ban chlorpyrifos, a toxic pesticide. Golf course owners are among the business interests opposing both rules, largely because they restrict pesticide use. Trump owns 12 golf courses in the U.S. that could be affected by the drinking water rule.
- U.S. Department of Labor rules to expand overtime pay and strengthen the rights of workers employed through staffing firms and contractors. Hotel and restaurant owners are among the business interests opposing these rules on the grounds that increasing worker pay will harm businesses’ bottom lines and lead to increased restrictions on workers. A significant portion of the Trump Organization’s 22,450 employees are hotel and restaurant workers.
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s collection of pay data to identify and resolve discriminatory pay practices. The Trump Organization, whose demographics are unknown, would have had to comply with the rule. During Trump’s presidential campaign, a staffer filed a lawsuit accusing the campaign of discriminatory pay practices; in Trump’s White House, the pay gap is double the national average.
- The Department of Homeland Security’s cap on the number of foreign nationals who can be employed in the U.S. through the H-2B visa program. The same week in July that Congress raised the cap for 2017, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort sought approval to hire 76 new H-2B guest workers.
The report also provides examples of anti-corruption restrictions, consumer protections and worker protections that could be rolled back under Trump to the potential benefit of his companies. It notes Trump’s potential conflicts of interest relating to an affordable housing program from which he and his family profit, and details how Trump could benefit from restrictions on class-action lawsuits and tax cuts to benefit corporations and the rich.
“Trump’s conflicts should make legislators and the public profoundly skeptical of the motives behind the president’s deregulatory agenda. They also should prompt a deeper assessment of the degree to which this president – or any future occupant of the Oval Office – should be able to personally profit from his administration’s policies,” Weissman added.
Added Rick Claypool, research director at Public Citizen and co-author of the report, “The stakes are high. Trump’s deregulatory agenda will result in more workers facing injuries and discrimination, more consumers ripped off and more pollution accelerating climate change and poisoning our air and water. The more Trump’s deregulatory agenda is realized, the more the costs will be borne by the American public.”