To: Interested Parties
From: Kyle Herrig, President of Accountable.US
Re: New Filings Detail How Lobbyists & Trump Allies Profit Off Crisis
Date: April 19, 2020
A headline in The Wall Street Journal recently read, “Coronavirus Stimulus Package Fuels Boom for Lobbyists.” As tens of millions of Americans lose their jobs and many more struggle to make ends meet, in President Trump’s Washington, special interest lobbyists are making a killing lobbying Congress and the administration.
While we don’t yet know how much cash lobbyists have made off of the ongoing crisis, a clearer picture is starting to emerge. On Monday, April 20th, federal lobbyists will have to file quarterly reports for activity covering January 1, 2020, through March 31, 2020. Unfortunately, there’s also a 45 day grace period for initial registrations so even more filings will likely trickle in throughout the coming weeks.
Here’s what we know about the influence of special interest lobbyists in the age of Trump:
- More than 400 people in the Trump administration have been through the revolving door, meaning they have previously lobbied for special interests or left their position and went to lobby.
- The fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in more special interest lobbyists. According to the AP there has been an increase in medical groups, drug makers, and others connected to the medical industry who have hired lobbyists.
- Many Trump alumni are now playing central roles in the negotiations for stimulus dollars.
Examples of the shady dealings happening with administration alumni-turned-lobbyists:
- The Vogel Group, which Bill McGinley joined as a principal in October 2019 after serving as chief liaison between WH and federal agencies, registered nine new clients from the beginning of March through April 17 — over the same period last year it registered zero. And just days after it registered Combat Medical as a client, the Defense Department announced a ventilator contract with the company.
- Fidelis Government Relations advertised their connections to Vice President Mike Pence and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in an email to potential new clients.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided to add bleach wipes and bleach solution made by Medline Industries to its list of COVID-19 disinfectants. Medline’s lobbyists include the CGCN Group, a firm that boasts high-profile Republican staffers, including a former senior EPA official.
- Laundrylux, a New York company that sells commercial laundry equipment, hired Ballard Partners, the lobbying firm run by a top fundraiser for Trump, to get laundromats added to a federal advisory list of essential businesses that should stay open.
What to keep look out for as additional filings come in:
- Which former Trump administration employees are registering to lobby?
- How much are the firms where Trump administration alumni work spending on lobbying?
- Which industries are spending the most?
- Which industries are making the most/benefit from the stimulus packages and federal contracts?
President Trump wasted critical months failing to confront the threat of COVID-19 — his record is one of epic mismanagement. Now with trillions of dollars on the line, special interests staffed by Trump administration alumni are trying to buy influence in Trump’s Washington by using lobbying shops staffed by Trump administration alumni. It is a circle of corruption that we are likely to see grow as more information is made available. We will continue to make these details available to the public so they can have a clear picture of how the Trump administration’s so-called recovery efforts are actually taking shape.