REVEALED: At Least 187 Trump Appointees Are Former Lobbyists, Many Now Oversee Their Former Industries

ProPublica reports:

When the Trump administration took office early last year, hundreds of staffers from lobbying firms, conservative think tanks and Trump campaign groups began pouring into the very agencies they once lobbied or whose work they once opposed.

Today we’re making available, for the first time, an authoritative searchable database of 2,475 political appointees, including Trump’s Cabinet, staffers in the White House and senior officials within the government, along with their federal lobbying and financial records. Trump Town is the result of a year spent filing hundreds of Freedom of Information Act requests; collecting and organizing staffing lists; and compiling, sifting through and publishing thousands of financial disclosure reports.

Here’s what we found: At least 187 Trump political appointees have been federal lobbyists, and despite President Trump’s campaign pledge to “drain the swamp,” many are now overseeing the industries they once lobbied on behalf of. We’ve also discovered ethics waivers that allow Trump staffers to work on subjects in which they have financial conflicts of interest. In addition, at least 254 appointees affiliated with Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and at least 125 staffers from prominent conservative think tanks are now working in the federal government, many of whom are on teams to repeal Obama-era regulations.

You’ll want to read more.

  • Todd20036

    But hey, Hillary spoke to a bunch of Goldman Sachs executives, so she’s just as bought. RIght?

    • gaycuckhubby


      • another_steve

        “Make America Democratic Socialist Again”

        • Paula

          His ideas would have worked. All we would have to do is raise the tax rates to 117% and everything would be O.K.

          • another_steve


            “Free tuition for all.”

            Sounded great to the kids. 😉

          • Paula

            It sounds great to me too. Where would the funds come from. I don’t think he really understood that portion.

          • Todd20036

            The devil is in the details.

          • The_Wretched

            My sister who is 3 years older than me paid for her undergrad via part time jobs. That’s next to free. The US *HAD* “free tuition for all” 20 years ago.

          • The_Wretched

            The US has the highest GDP per capita in the world. If anywhere else can afford a certain social services program, we can too.

            The republicans have no difficulty magically spending trillions every time they are in office as well.

          • Paula

            They would never waste it on something as silly as education. /s

          • The_Wretched

            Political limits are not economic ones.

          • But only on necessities like dining room furniture and a wall along the Mexican border.

          • clay

            (US GDP/capita is ranked 7th in the world, behind Luxembourg, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Ireland, and Qatar. When considering the cost of living, the US ranks 11th with Singapore, Brunei, Kuwait, UAE, and San Marino in the mix.)

          • The_Wretched

            A valid point narrowly but my point about economic support for social programs remains.

        • Strepsi

          Democratic Socialist is indeed the only sensible way to run a civilized country, and is used by most. Unfortunately it’s a non-starter in the U.S. (never mind not one of the only TWO options available to the electorate). So yeah, it was Hillary or Hell on Earth.

          • another_steve

            I think regulated (lightly and in such a way as to prevent abuse) American Capitalism is the most perfect economic system devised by humankind to date. It most perfectly mirrors human behavior and reflects basic innate human drives. “Supply and demand,” one example of that.

            The key is to regulate it wisely and only so far as to prevent the worst in human behavior from manifesting in it.

          • JCF

            The devil’s (and the angel’s) in the details for both systems. IF ONLY they weren’t both dependent on fallible HUMANS to make them succeed!

    • Lakeview Bob

      God I hope that was meant as a snarky comment. .

      • Tulle Christensen

        Coming from Todd20036 you can bet it is

    • another_steve

      Never mind that.


      • Gerry Fisher


    • The_Wretched

      you don’t have to gargle sewage to have bad breath

      • Todd20036

        But it sure helps!

    • Joe in PA

      And I think Chelsea took money for making a speech. So there’s that.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    The corruption knows no bounds and the negative effect he is having on this country is chilling.

    • Paula

      I don’t get how these people can be so stupid. They see someone wearing a turban and come unglued.

      • Marc: The Social Gadfly

        It all stems from their hate of yarmulkes (yamakas for us goys).

        • David Walker

          It is my theory they were invented to cover rabbis’ bald spots.

    • kaydenpat

      This is Trump’s America: full of hate and bigotry.

    • jmax

      I’m betting he can’t hold down a job. So he blames others and thinks Muslims have it easier in this country. Well, maybe most immigrants are willing to work harder and don’t have a sense of white entitlement. And maybe most of them don’t have anger issues that cause them to DRIVE THEIR CAR THROUGH THE FRONT OF A FUCKING STORE. What a stupid douchebag.

    • Gerry Fisher

      Dough boy idiot

  • another_steve

    Have said it before: This is one of the biggest organized crime syndicates in the history of the United States, and it’s operating out of the White House.

    • kaydenpat

      Definitely. I feel sorry for Mueller. There’s so much for him to investigate. This is going to age him.

      • Marc: The Social Gadfly

        I think the payoff in the end will be well worthwhile for him; Historical references, book deals, that tacky new Pornhub parody video that’ll inevitably come out,… 😄

        • Todd20036

          That you’re starring in?

          • another_steve

            They’ll be looking for performers who will urinate on one another.

            Will you be auditioning, dear?

        • teeveedub

          “The Mueller Probe”?

      • Todd20036

        He’s the only honorable republican left.

        • kaydenpat

          Sadly, true which is why Conservatives hate his guts.

      • JCF

        That’s why he’s assembled a Dream Team! 😀

    • Richie Kau

      That is one scary article. Yeah,that is exactly what the Trump presidency is—a crime syndicate. So happy that TrumpTown is exposing all of this.

    • Strepsi
  • clay

    Would be stronger if they could compare to previous administrations– too many will simply say “same as it ever was”.

    • Lakeview Bob

      Did you miss the drain the swamp reference? Or did you conveniently forget it?

      • clay

        The people who will just say “they all do it” already say that about hypocrisy.

      • Taylor Bixler

        Reagan talked of draining the swamp 35 years ago and his administration was a revolving door between K Street and government. A politician being full of sheet about this sort of thing is nothing new. Hell, FDR appointed Sid Weinberg, then CEO of Goldman, to direct the War Production Board. Government Sachs has been standard practice in administration after administration since.

    • SFBruce

      I agree, but if it mattered at all to his hard core supporters, it would be the first time.

      • clay

        I can’t waste my time with his hard core supporters, but it could influence the younger liberals and the independent libertarians who too often write off all government as equally corrupt.

  • gaycuckhubby
    • Todd20036

      Maybe they thought by spreading out the murders across large distances, they could get away with it

      • RaygunsGoZap

        I don’t think there’s coordination here. It’s that they draw these unstable types and then egg them on in various ways.

    • ColdCountry

      So when are the Republicans going to say, “white, American terrorists?”

      • Todd20036

        February 30th

      • gaycuckhubby

        Well, since that is their base… never?

  • Phil in Colorado

    This is literally the fucking swamp he claimed to want to drain…

    • Friday

      Everyone knew he was a pathological liar.

      • Phil in Colorado

        Unfortunately when he got elected, we found out how much some of them cared. 🙁

    • thatotherjean

      He did drain it–straight into the White House and government offices in DC.

  • HZ81

    “Drain the swamp. She is too corrupt to be President! Email!!!”

    Fuck everyone and anyone who pushed any of the above.

    • JCF

      …and is STILL pushing it!

  • Ninja0980

    So much for draining the swamp eh?

    • Halou

      Drain it, refill it.

  • Blake J Butler
    • kaydenpat


    • 604brian

      See and this is why Washington would be much more fitted to join Canada than stay with the rest of the states that are holding back voting rights.

    • Keroleen

      And they’re one of the handful of states that’re 100% vote-by-mail, so they’ve already dealt with the voting machine issue as well.

      • (((GC)))

        I’ll take a generous election period (i.e. lots of opportunity for weekday and weekend early voting) with in-person voting instead, with absentee ballots available if needed — that way family members, bosses, or others don’t have the routine opportunity to coerce or buy votes. The privacy of the voting booth makes the ballot truly secret; it’s an important principle that shouldn’t be discarded lightly.

    • (((GC)))

      A model for the other 49!

    • JCF

      …which is almost (though not quite) to say, “Permanent Democratic Majorities”—which is why these kind of NECESSARY reforms so terrify Rethugs.

      • (((GC)))

        Until another major party arises that makes the Democrats look inhumane and backwards….

  • Rebecca Gardner

    Trump definitely drained a swamp somewhere and he moved it to Washington D.C.

  • Rebecca Gardner
    • JCF

      [Forgive me, Ross]

      2016 in a nutshell.

  • SoCalGal20

    ProPublica has done been doing some outstanding and vital work. Consider sending them a donation.

  • lymis

    This is, to my mind, FAR more an indictment of those who approved the appointments than it is of Trump.

    I know that not all of these appointments require Senate approval of the candidate, but they generally would require the approval of a Senate-ratified head of agency, if they didn’t involve significant involvement in the nomination of the appointees BY such Senate-approved appointees.

    If the Senate had done it’s job, a lot of this problem would have either been avoided or taken a different form.

    • Strepsi

      Well that’s why anyone voting Republican at all is an idiot: 100% of the party is anti-constitutional corporatocracy, the national party platform itself is bigoted, and the whole of them are in on it.

    • EdA

      Notoriously, the Republiscum-controlled Senate is a conscious rubber-stamp of whatever nomination Degenerate Don sends to it. Confirming Betsy DeVos, a wealthy donor who had never had any experience with public schools in ANY capacity, as Secretary of Education was only one blatant example of party-line rubber-stamping.

  • bkmn

    I’m honestly surprised the number isn’t higher.

    • Joe in PA

      Yeah, I think that number is the ones that were registered lobbyists. I bet that out of the 2475 appointees…2475 of them had a prior connection to TRUMP et. al. Whether that be campaign donors, family members, industry insiders etc. These are political paybacks.

  • 1980Gardener

    These numbers are not concerning.

    7.5% former lobbyists seems to be a very reasonable number.

    254 affiliated with the campaign seems normal and expected.

    125 from think-thanks actually seems really low.

    How do these numbers compare to other administrations?

    • Friday

      When especially agency heads and Cabinet members have a history of lobbying *against* what their departments are entrusted to *do* by the American people, this is high-order corruption. Especially when they actually have no experience in the field *except* lobbying against oversight or science or even secular/public education.

      • Strepsi

        Case in point: Just this week the Trump Admin signed new regulations ALLOWING dumping mining tailings into waterways!

      • 1980Gardener

        I don’t consider it to be corruption. there is not a political litmus test for agency heads and Cabinet members – there is nothing corrupt about such people representing the views and values of an administration.

        • Strepsi

          Sure it’s corruption: if you think those people are not getting kickbacks for removing the regulations against the industries they STILL REPRESENT you are naïve beyond belief.

          But if not corruption it is nihilism. The federal government does not believe in federal government and is destroying itself from within.

          • 1980Gardener

            Given your definition of corruption, I’m not sure who could be an agency head that wouldn’t fit that definition. Virtually all political appointees have political agendas.

          • Strepsi

            Any of them in any other country except the U.S.! Any civil democracy demands politicians remove their financial conflicts of interest in subjects they’ll be legislating. And most agency heads represent the agency mandate (i.e. environmental protection, public education) instead of the opposite of that (unlimited environmental exploitation, private education).

            My definition of corruption is the normal one: these politicians are being PAID by industries to undermine the regulations on those industries, contrary to their constituent’s well-being.

          • 1980Gardener

            “Any of them in any other country except the U.S.! Any civil democracy demands politicians remove their financial conflicts of interest in subjects they’ll be legislating.”

            – Nothing in this article suggests that these folks have a financial conflict of interest.

            “And most agency heads represent the agency mandate (i.e. environmental protection, public education) instead of the opposite of that (unlimited environmental exploitation, private education).”

            – a different view of how an agency should fulfill its mission does not disqualify someone from leading an agency. You seem to suggest that there is no room in government for small government conservatives – is that what you intend?

            “My definition of corruption is the normal one: these politicians are being PAID by industries to undermine the regulations on those industries, contrary to their constituent’s well-being.”

            – I don’t see any basis for that contention.

          • Strepsi

            “We’ve also discovered ethics waivers that allow Trump staffers to work on subjects in which they have financial conflicts of interest.”

            Stop being deliberately obtuse.

          • 1980Gardener

            But that doesn’t say what you contended…

          • perversatile

            A troll in the guise
            of a conversational contrarian
            is still a troll

        • Friday

          Wrong. Actually these agencies are charged with their missions by *statute.* Science denialism and corporate greed are violating that public trust, not to mention all too often ethics rules. Corruption, it definitely is, and if you don’t believe that you can wonder why the sound-proof booths cause they’re worried about whistleblowers.

          • 1980Gardener

            The statutes do not prohibit a small government philosophy.

          • Friday

            ‘Small government philosophy’ does not justify violating the missions of these agencies, never mind actively doing the opposite of what they’re charged to do by statute. Obfuscating science and actively pushing denialism and suppressing research and reporting isn’t ‘making government smaller,’ …it’s pushing a right-wing agenda of *looting* things appertaining to the public trust and national welfare.

    • EdA

      Other administrations did not actively campaign on the basis of creating anarchy, which was and is Bannon’s explicit desire. Of course one can argue that many Trumpanzees are actually supporters of the law of the jungle and others are easily led ignoramuses. But the reality is that the majority of people who voted and had their votes count rejected Degenerate Don as their candidate for president, and the plurality voted by millions that they wanted or at least preferred Hillary.

  • kaydenpat

    See, the swamp has been fully drained into the White House.

  • Rex

    So, he said he was going to drain the swamp and he didn’t, said Mexico would pay for the wall – they won’t, said we’d be tired of all the winning – we aren’t, said he’d make America great again and we all know how that’s going. He’s a liar, cheat, and opportunist. His words mean nothing. He said “believe me” and that’s the biggest scam of them all. F*uck Trump.

    • Moebym of the Returners

      And yet, he still has many supporters.

      • Todd20036

        Because one thing he did promise was that white privilege would be en vogue again.
        And better than 90% of his fans are Nazis.

  • alc2018 Marge knew Dan worked for the gov’t but she didn’t how big a piece of it he had..until later that evening…

  • Richard, another Canuck

    I’d like to see a Venn diagram of the overlap with Putin’s list, or are they all just approved by Putin’s Republicans.

  • Joe in PA

    And when asked about this Sarah Huckabilly said “Look, the American people have elected Donald Trump by a wide margin, overwhelmingly voted for him, a landslide of people all elected Donald Trump to do just this!”

    Is that clear?

  • BeaverTales

    What do you get when you cross a Theocracy with a Kleptocracy…?

    • -M-


    • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)


    • sadoldguy


  • ColdCountry

    Actually, I don’t want to read more. That was enough to depress me sufficiently. I’m not surprised, of course, and I’m getting to exhausted to be outraged – which might be a bad thing – but I’m just so tired of winning.

  • Galvestonian

    ‘Drain the Swamp’ ??? If anything he dumping sewage into the Federal Agencies, offices and Departments … and those appointees are cutting and slashing anything that hampers profit making in areas that they represented as lobbyists. Along with that are monster payouts & rewards from the industries that profit.

    • Tread

      This is all by design. Anything he can do to damage the workings of the federal government pleases his puppetmaster, Putin.

  • AstroCat

    Trump didn’t drain the swamp – he filled it.

  • Hank

    There is LESS swamp in the Everglades, than there is NOW in DC!!!

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    And yet still, the GOP will overlook it all for the sake of their bank accounts and grip on power, tenuous thought it may be.

  • JWC

    This just smells rotten from top to bottom

  • Talisman

    He drained the swamp, all right – only to wallow in the slime left behind.

  • Canadian Observer

    Not sure why one would want to “drain the swamp” to simply replace it with a sewage holding tank. Make work project?

  • Kenster999
  • Rich

    You keep saying “you’ll want to read more”, Joe, but I really don’t. *sigh*

  • KnownDonorDad

    “Ethics waiver?” Well, that’s a neat trick. I’m used to the opposite, conflict of interest forms.

  • Kevin Andrews
  • JCF

    Has this been compared to previous administrations? While I wouldn’t be surprised to see that Drumpf’s is the most griftastic ever, it’s certainly happened previously (I would assume predominantly, though by no means exclusively, by Rethugs).

  • Kendall

    “ethics waiver” – this is an oxymoron. (Le sigh.) Such a thing SHOULD NOT EXIST!