Lobbyists Romp in Trump’s Washington

Lobbyists Romp in Trump’s Washington


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Leonardo Santamaria

The numbers compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan organization that tracks money in American politics, might not seem surprising. The amount spent on lobbying during the first nine months of Donald Trump’s presidency, it found, was higher than in any corresponding period since 2012. A new administration would attract a new wave of lobbying, you would think.

Except that Mr. Trump promised something different. “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” he said in his Inaugural Address. “Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth.”

Washington, though, has continued to flourish, and Trump himself has reaped some of the rewards. A new report from Public Citizen, a nonpartisan government watchdog, documents more than 60 examples of lobbying groups, foreign governments and corporate interests holding parties and meetings in Trump family properties, including that beacon for Washington lobbyists, the Trump International Hotel in D.C.

Mar-a-Lago, the Trump-owned private club where the president spends much of his time, charged up to $750 per person to spend New Year’s Eve with him.

As we have noted, this all began with the festivities surrounding the inauguration, which were bankrolled by coal, oil, gas, chemical, technology and pharmaceutical companies that forked over a big chunk of the record $107 million raised for the inaugural events. Organizers aren’t saying how much was spent and what was done with the leftover money — likely tens of millions of dollars — which they said would go to charity, USA Today reported on Thursday.

But what is clear is that Mr. Trump and Republicans in Congress have been doing corporate interests’ bidding ever since.

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