Throughout the presidential campaign, Donald Trump has portrayed himself as the ultimate outsider, not beholden to special interests and lobbyists, and uniquely qualified to stop corruption and influence-peddling in the halls of power in Washington, D.C. Along with building “the wall” and “Crooked Hillary,” condemning special interests and the #DrainTheSwamp meme was a recurring catchphrase in his speeches.
Last October, he railed against “the political class that is owned outright by special interests and lobbyists.” He continued: “They’ve betrayed our workers, they’ve betrayed our borders and, most of all, they’ve betrayed our freedoms. We will save our sovereign rights as a nation. We will end the politics of profit; we will end the rule of special interests.”
What a difference a few days make. Just three days after his victory on Tuesday night, Trump has surrounded himself with advisers who are lobbyists and a transition team guided by those who represent the very “special interests” he decried, including lobbyists for Google, oil companies, mining giants, and other corporations and organizations, according to excellent reporting inPolitico and the New York Times, both of which obtained an organizational chart of the transition team (see below).
Advocates for progressive causes and safety and health regulations were not surprised at Trump’s apparent hypocrisy on lobbyists. “I don’t think it’s any surprise that his ‘drain the swamp’ sloganeering turned out to be just that,” wrote Matthew Shudtz, the executive director of the Center for Progressive Reform, in an email to Fast Company. “To me, the interesting question is whether Mr. Trump will develop any sort of unifying vision for his team. Or are we entering an era of deregulatory free-for-all?”
And Karl Frisch, executive director or Progress Now, emailed: “It’s hard to fight the ‘rigged’ system when you fill your administration with the very individuals complicit in the rigging. President-elect Trump promised millions of angry Americans that Washington would be different under his leadership. He decried the influence of big banks, Wall Street fat cats, and powerful special interests. Now it appears he’s offering them room-and-board in the White House. If these leaked reports are to be believed, the swamp’s drain is obviously clogged.”
Here’s an alphabetical running list of all the lobbyists currently working for the team, their roles, and their lobbying history. And it will be updated.
Albright, Bud Agencies task force Lobbyist with Ogilvy Government Relations Clients: Calpine Corporation, Delta Star, Deltic Timber, National Association of Water Companies
Bagger, Rich Transition team executive director Lobbyist for Celgene Corporation
Bernhardt, David Interior Department transition team Lobbyist with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck Clients: Westlands Water District (in California) Former clients: Freeport LNG, Rosemont Copper
Carter, Jim Tax reform Lobbyist for Emerson manufacturing company
Catanzaro, Mike Energy independence Lobbyist with CGCN Group Clients: American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, Hess, Encana, Noble Energy, Devon Energy
Chatfield, William Austin Veterans Administration reform Owned a lobbying firm, Kindness & Chatfield Clients: Software firms
Ciccone, Christine Transition team Lobbyist for Centrus Energy and formerly lobbied for Honeywell
Collins, Rob Personnel Lobbyist with S-3 Group Clients: Google, JPMorgan, United LaunchAlliance (Lockheed Martin + Boeing joint venture), Council for Investor Rights and Corporate Accountability
Eisenach, Jeffrey FCC transition team Consultant to telecom industry who’s been paid by Verizon and AT&T
Ference, Mike Energy independence Lobbyist with S-3 Group Clients: Halliburton, Koch Industries, Marathon Oil
Ferguson, Mike Transition team Lobbyist with Ferguson Strategies LLC Clients: Lilly, Roche, Merck, Genentech, Verizon
Hayden, Cindy Homeland Security transition team Lobbies for Altria, the tobacco giant
Hart, J. Steven Labor Department transition team Lobbyist with William & Jensen Clients: Anthem, Cheniere Energy, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Visa,, PhRMA, United Airlines, and the American Council of Life Insurers.
Hohlt, Rick Transition team Lobbyist with the Hohlt Group Clients: Sallie Mae, Bristol Myers, Chevron, the Federalist Group, JPMorgan Chase, Nuclear Energy Institute
Lundberg, Rolf Trade reform Lobbies for Choice Hotels and the International Franchise Association
Machida, Ado Policy team Lobbies for defense giant BAE System, formerly lobbied for Hitachi America, UPS
McKenna, Michael Energy Department transition team Lobbyist with MWR Strategies Clients: Engie, Southern Company, Dow Chemical
Palatucci, William Transition team general counsel Lobbyist with Dughi, Hewit and Palatucci Clients: Aetna and Verizon
Torrey, Michael Agriculture Department transition team Lobbies for the American Beverage Association, Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau.
Whitmer, Martin Transportation and infrastructure Lobbyist with Whitmer & Worrall Clients: American Association of Railroads, the National Asphalt Pavement Association, Utilities Technology Council