[Marxism] Trump Campaigned Against Lobbyists. Now They’re on His Transition Team.

Louis Proyect 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 
Commission.

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 
his promises.

“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 
Pavement Association.

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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