Who Is Whispering in Their Ears? Advisers to the Presidential Candidates Are Shaping Policies Now

Sept. 15, 2016

Who Is Whispering in Their Ears? Advisers to the Presidential Candidates Are Shaping Policies Now

Public Citizen Releases a List of Clinton and Trump Advisers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The people who will help shape the next president’s policies already are advising the candidates, providing a glimpse into possible policies and priorities for the next four years.

To help shed light on the process, Public Citizen today released a compilation (PDF) of basic information about 26 advisers to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – 13 people who are advising each candidate.

They range from well-known names such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (for Trump) and former presidential policy adviser John Podesta (for Clinton) to attorney Marc Elias (for Clinton) and former legislative staffer Stephen Miller (for Trump). Neither candidate has released a comprehensive list of advisers; Public Citizen gathered the names from published reports and comments made by the candidates.

“Understanding the views of the people the candidates turn to for advice offers insight into what they might do when they get into office beyond the positions that they have already laid out in policy papers,” said Taylor Lincoln, research director for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division and author of the report, “The Company They Keep: A Guide to the Presidential Candidates’ Domestic Policy Advisers.”

After the election, many people now advising the candidates in various capacities will merge onto the president-elect’s transition team. There, they will be tasked with refining the language of broad campaign proposals and identifying the personnel to fill key positions in the new administration.

“The winning candidate should be forthcoming about the identities and roles of the participants on his or her transition team,” Lincoln said. “The president-elect should ensure transparency in the activities of the transition team.”

The report is part of an ongoing Public Citizen project about the presidential candidates’ transition planning. In addition to tracking their personnel, Public Citizen is monitoring how candidates adhere to transparency and ethics policy in their transition work.

Read the report (PDF).

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