Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. They laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work digging out the truth. Please support this independent journalism today by donating to our critical Fall Campaign. We cannot do it without you. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

Nearly 70 Percent of Trump’s Picks for Top Administration Jobs Have Corporate Ties

Lobbyists, Lawyers and Corporate Executives Thrive in Trump’s Washington, D.C., Swamp Despite Pledge to Clean Up Washington, Public Citizen Analysis Finds
WASHINGTON -

President Donald Trump has packed his administration with corporate executives, corporate lawyers, corporate lobbyists and corporate consultants, directly contradicting his pledge to upend the “failed and corrupt” political establishment, according to a new report issued today by Public Citizen.

The Public Citizen analysis of 115 sub-Cabinet officials nominated or announced by the White House reveals extensive ties to corporate America.

Of the White House’s nominees for these jobs, 80 people, or nearly 70 percent of sub-Cabinet officials, had a clear corporate connection, having worked in a corporate job or done corporate legal work or corporate consulting. The remaining 35 had no direct corporate ties, though many are nevertheless ideologically committed to a deregulatory agenda that would benefit powerful corporate interests at consumers’ expense.

“Giant corporations have taken control of the government,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “In the Trump administration, auto industry lobbyists are setting transportation policy, Boeing has a top perch at the Department of Defense, Wall Street is in control of financial policy and regulatory agencies, and corporate defense lawyers staff the key positions in the Justice Department. In Washington, D.C., personnel is policy, and the occupation of key government positions by corporate insiders ensures corporate cronyism on a scale with few if any precedents in American history.”

The analysis found that Trump’s nominees represent a who’s who of major lobbying firms, law firms and corporate titans. They include:

● 29 current or former executives at companies including Boeing Co., Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Invesco Ltd., Exelon and Bear Stearns. Many of these companies have cultivated ties to the administration, including Boeing, which gave $1 million to pay for Trump’s inauguration.

● 26 corporate lawyers from major firms including Kirkland & Ellis, Dechert, Sullivan & Cromwell, Jones Day and Mayer Brown. Filling top Justice Department posts are a lawyer who represented the tobacco industry, a lawyer who fought federal regulations for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a lawyer who represented BP in the Gulf disaster.

● 15 current or former registered lobbyists from lobbying firms including Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, King & Spalding and Ogilvy Government Relations as well as several registered lobbyists who have worked directly for corporate interests.

● 10 corporate consultants who did work for companies including Lockheed Martin and Hewlett-Packard, including a former congresswoman who has faced ethical questions over her work helping Lockheed keep a key nuclear weapons laboratory contract.

The analysis includes all of Trump’s nominees for sub-Cabinet roles such as deputy secretary and general counsel at federal agencies, but it excludes ambassadors due to their lack of involvement in domestic policy.

“Trump’s populist campaign rhetoric played upon legitimate public frustration with the flood of lobbyist cash and corporate influence in Washington,” said Alan Zibel, a Public Citizen researcher and the report’s lead author. “But the reality of the Trump administration has been the opposite. It’s open season for corporate lobbyists in Donald Trump’s Washington, and the most powerful corporations in America have plenty of former colleagues and friends in the new administration.”

Read the report here.

###

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people – not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

'Who Will You Throw Overboard?' Manchin Targeted for Trying to Sink Democratic Agenda

West Virginians gathered at the senator's yacht to demand that he stop blocking the "popular and needed" Build Back Better package.

Jessica Corbett ·


After Getting 'Stealth Bailout' During Pandemic, US Corporations Try to Kill Proposed Tax Hikes

"When it's time to finally put workers first, big businesses are spending millions to maintain their advantage and preserve the status quo," said Kyle Herrig of Accountable.US.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Disgraceful': Just 9 Republicans Join With Dems to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt

The vote "reveals just how far the Republican Party has fallen" since Trump took control as GOP's de facto leader, said one pro-democracy advocate.

Jon Queally ·


After Months of Organizing, Amazon Workers Ready Union Drive at Staten Island Warehouse

"The energy and culture we built over the last six months with these workers, it's been very strong," said Amazon Labor Union president Chris Smalls. "Everybody's excited."

Kenny Stancil ·


Top Dem Calls on Biden to Toss Legally 'Erroneous' Trump Memo and Ratify Equal Rights Amendment

The renewed push comes nearly 50 years after Congress passed the amendment.

Andrea Germanos ·

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