[Marxism] Trump Campaigned Against Lobbyists. Now They’re on His Transition Team.
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Nov 11 08:56:15 MST 2016
NY Times, Nov. 11 2016
Trump Campaigned Against Lobbyists. Now They’re on His Transition Team.
By ERIC LIPTON
WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald J. Trump, who campaigned against the
corrupt power of special interests, is filling his transition team with
some of the very sort of people who he has complained have too much
clout in Washington: corporate consultants and lobbyists.
Jeffrey Eisenach, a consultant who has worked for years on behalf of
Verizon and other telecommunications clients, is the head of the team
that is helping to pick staff members at the Federal Communications
Michael Catanzaro, a lobbyist whose clients include Devon Energy and
Encana Oil and Gas, holds the “energy independence” portfolio.
Michael Torrey, a lobbyist who runs a firm that has earned millions of
dollars helping food industry players such as the American Beverage
Association and the dairy giant Dean Foods, is helping set up the new
team at the Department of Agriculture.
Mr. Trump was swept to power in large part by white working-class voters
who responded to his vow to restore the voices of forgotten people, ones
drowned out by big business and Wall Street. But in his transition to
power, some of the most prominent voices will be those of advisers who
come from the same industries for which they are being asked to help set
the regulatory groundwork.
The president-elect’s spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, declined a request for
comment, as did nearly a dozen corporate executives, consultants and
lobbyists serving on his transition team, which was outlined in a list
distributed widely in Washington on Thursday.
A number of the people on that list are well-established experts with no
clear interest in helping private-sector clients. But to critics of Mr.
Trump — both Democrats and Republicans — the inclusion of advisers with
industry ties is a first sign that he may not follow through on all of
“This whole idea that he was an outsider and going to destroy the
political establishment and drain the swamp were the lines of a con man,
and guess what — he is being exposed as just that,” said Peter Wehner,
who served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush
before becoming a speechwriter for George W. Bush. “He is failing the
first test. And he should be held accountable for it.”
Transition teams help new presidents pick the new cabinet, as well as up
to 4,000 political appointees who will take over top posts in agencies
across the government. President Obama, after he was first elected,
instituted rules that prohibited individuals who had served as a
registered lobbyist in the prior year from serving as a transition
adviser in the areas in which they represented private clients. They
were also prohibited, after the administration took power, from lobbying
in the parts of the government they helped set up.
“They wanted to make sure that people were not putting their thumb on
the scale, or even the perception of that,” said Martha Joynt Kumar, the
director of a nonprofit group called the White House Transition Project,
which has studied two decades of presidential transitions.
Among the advisers assisting Mr. Trump who have no clear private-sector
ties are Brian Johnson, a top lawyer for the House Financial Services
Committee, who is helping to pick top staff members for the federal
government’s many financial services agencies.
Edwin Meese, who served as attorney general under Mr. Reagan and is now
associated with the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank, is
helping oversee management and budget issues, along with Kay Coles
James, a Bush administration official who now runs an institute that
trains future African-American leaders.
Former Representative Mike Rogers, Republican of Michigan, who served as
chairman of the House Intelligence Committee until 2014 and was once a
special agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is overseeing
issues related to national security, including the intelligence agencies
and the Department of Homeland Security.
Mr. Catanzaro’s client list is a who’s who of major corporate players —
such as the Hess Corporation and Devon Energy — that have tried to
challenge the Obama administration’s environmental and energy policies
on issues such as how much methane gas can be released at oil and gas
drilling sites, lobbying disclosure reports show.
He also worked with oil industry players to help push through major
legislation goals, such as allowing the export of crude oil. He will now
help pick Mr. Trump’s energy team.
Michael McKenna, another lobbyist helping to pick key administration
officials who will oversee energy policy, has a client list that this
year has included the Southern Company, one of the most vocal critics of
efforts to prevent climate change by putting limits on emissions from
coal-burning power plants.
Advisers with ties to other industries include Martin Whitmer, who is
overseeing “transportation and infrastructure” for the Trump transition.
He is the chairman of a Washington law firm whose lobbying clients
include the Association of American Railroads and the National Asphalt
David Malpass, the former chief economist at Bear Stearns, the Wall
Street investment bank that collapsed during the 2008 financial crisis,
is overseeing the “economic issues” portfolio of the transition, as well
as operations at the Treasury Department. Mr. Malpass now runs a firm
called Encima Global, which sells economic research to institutional
investors and corporate clients.
Mr. Eisenach, as a telecommunications industry consultant, has worked to
help major cellular companies fight back against regulations proposed by
the Federal Communications Commission that would mandate so-called net
neutrality — requiring providers to give equal access to their networks
to outside companies. He is now helping to oversee the rebuilding of the
staff at the F.C.C.
Dan DiMicco, a former chief executive of the steelmaking company Nucor,
who now serves on the board of directors of Duke Energy, is heading the
transition team for the Office of the United States Trade
Representative. Mr. DiMicco has long argued that China is unfairly
subsidizing its manufacturing sector at the expense of American jobs.
In his campaign, Mr. Trump promised to take steps to close the so-called
revolving door, through which government officials leave their posts and
then personally profit by helping private companies reap rewards from
policies or programs they had recently managed.
In October, declaring that “it’s time to drain the swamp in Washington,”
he promised to institute a five-year ban in which all executive branch
officials would be prevented from lobbying the government after they
left. He has also promised to expand the definition of a lobbyist, so it
includes corporate consultants who do not register as lobbyists but
still often act like one.
Bruce F. Freed, the president of a nonprofit group called the Center for
Political Accountability, which is pressing major corporations to be
more transparent about their political spending, said Mr. Trump’s
transition team had sent an unfortunate signal to his followers.
“This is one of the reasons you had such anger among voters — people
rigging the system, gaming the system,” Mr. Freed said. “This represents
more of the same.”
Follow Eric Lipton on Twitter @EricLiptonNYT
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