During his campaign, president-elect Donald Trump promised to "drain the swamp" in Washington by cracking down on corruption in Congress and reducing the overlaps between politicians and corporate lobbyists, but he has brought eight individuals onto his transition team that are either lobbyists themselves or closely connected to large corporations.
On Nov. 10, Politico reported that Trump's transition team will consist of:
- Cindy Hayden, from Altria, a tobacco company
- Williams & Jensen chairman and former Office of Management, whose clients include Visa, the American Council of Life Insurers, Anthem, Cheniere Energy, Coca-Cola, General Electric, HSBC, Pfixer, PhRMA and United Airlines
- David Bernhardt of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, who lobbies for the Westlands Water District
- Michael Torrey, whose firm represents the American Beverage Association and the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau
- Mira Ricardel, who isn't a registered lobbyist but is a consultant for government research firm Federal Budget IQ
- Dan DiMicco, who works on Duke Energy's board and represents Nucor steel
- Paul Atkins, who is not a lobbyist but is CEO of advisory firm Patomak Global Partners
- Ken Blackwell, who is also not a lobbyist but is a senior fellow of the Family Research Council, who does lobbying
After Trump won the election, numerous Washington insiders and mainstream Republican politicians have contacted the Trump team about joining his administration.
"What will be really interesting is the number of D.C. lawyers and lobbyists who claim that they supported Trump all along," Ken Kies, a tax lobbyist, Trump supporter and former chief-of-staff to the Joint Committee on Taxation, told Politico. "They want to be able to show their clients that they have influence with Trump, even if they don't."
In late October, Trump released his plan to "drain the swamp" in order to "reduce the corrupting influences of special interests on our politics" within his first 100 days in office, notes NPR.
Among his proposals, Trump pledged at the time to institute a five-year ban on officials who leave the White House or congress and wish to become lobbyists, a "lifetime ban" on executive officials lobbying for foreign governments, and a "complete ban" on foreign lobbyists who wish to fundraise in U.S. elections in order to "clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, DC."
Trump said that his plan "begins with restoring honesty, accountability and change to Washington."