Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

'Swamp Is Anything But Drained': Report Details 281 Lobbyists in Trump Administration Over First Two Years

"The swamp is Trump hiring 281 lobbyists in just a couple years of his administration."

Eoin Higgins

A new report from ProPublica and Columbia Journalism Investigations, published Tuesday, found that President Donald Trump's campaign vow to "drain the swamp" of Washington corruption is not being backed up in practice as his administration counts one lobbyists for every 14 appointees.

"Swamp things," tweeted Hollywood Reporter editor-at-large Kim Masters.

The report relied on names and information in ProPublica's "Trump Town" database, and added hundreds more for the Tuesday report:

We tracked the lobbyists as part of an update to Trump Town, our database of political appointees. We've added the names of 639 new staffers with the administration and the financial disclosures of 351 political appointees who have filled different positions over the past year, and we tracked the careers of 338 who departed government during the same period.

Despite that plethora of information, however, the administration's recalcitrance in providing information on recusals and influence makes it difficult to ascertain the full scope of influence lobbyists have on the industries they once worked for in the private sector. Nonetheless, Tuesday's reporting indicates the Trump administration has quadrupled the President Barack Obama administration's number of lobbyists in government in half the time.

With a combination of weakened rules and loose enforcement easing the transition to government and back to K Street, Trump's swamp is anything but drained. The number of lobbyists who have served in government jobs is four times more than the Obama administration had six years into office. And former lobbyists serving Trump are often involved in regulating the industries they worked for.

Some lobbyists use their time in the Trump administration to get access; others, like Health and Human Services deputy secretary for legislation for mandatory health Colin Roskey, were briefly in charge of departments that can hand out fat contracts to former clients. 

The reporting "suggests that lobbyists see themselves as more effective in furthering their clients' special interests from inside the government rather than from outside," Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington ethics chief counsel Virginia Canter told ProPublica. Canter described the number of lobbyists in the administration as "staggering."

"With the new data just released, Trump Town grew to include 3,859 names, 2,319 financial disclosures and hundreds of other records for Trump's staffers," ProPublica reported.

Young Turks host John Iadarola put Tuesday's report in context of the president's promises.

"The swamp is Trump hiring 281 lobbyists in just a couple years of his administration," said Iadarola.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Senate Dems Help Torpedo Resolution That Would Have Blocked $650 Million Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

"My simple question is, why in the world would the United States reward a regime that has caused such pain in Yemen with more weapons," Sanders asked after the vote. "The answer is we should not."

Brett Wilkins ·

Amnesty Scorecard Finds Twitter Failing to Protect Women From Online Abuse

"As our world has become increasingly dependent on digital spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic, it's critical that Twitter meet this moment with demonstrated commitment to improving the online experiences of all users, regardless of their identity."

Jessica Corbett ·

Filibuster Reform for Debt Ceiling Fight But Not Voting Rights or Reproductive Freedom?

"If our senators are willing to suspend the filibuster to protect our economy, they should be willing to suspend it to protect our democracy and our freedom to vote."

Jessica Corbett ·

As Senate Holds Guantánamo Hearing, Biden Urged to 'Finally End This Chapter of Injustice'

"Guantánamo is a centerpiece of the forever wars. It is a shameful symbol of racial injustice, torture, and violations of the Constitution and international law."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Unbreakable Solidarity': Kellogg's Workers Reject Contract That Would Leave New Employees Out of Benefits

"We're not willing to sell our souls for our future employees that are going to work side by side with us but not get the same pay or benefits."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo