‘Drain The Swamp’? Trump Stocks His Transition Team With Lobbyists

AP

After campaigning on a promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C., President-elect Donald Trump is stocking his transition team with lobbyists for major energy and communications corporations.

A Friday New York Times report running through these new hires was filled with the names of powerful, highly-paid advocates for private-sector corporations.

Verizon consultant Jeffrey Eisenach will head the team to choose staff members for the Federal Communications Commission, and Michael Cantanzaro, a lobbyist who has worked for Devon Energy and Encana Oil and Gas, will run the “energy independence” portfolio, according to the Times. Michael Torrey, a food industry lobbyist for groups like the American Beverage Association, was picked to help staff the Department of Agriculture.

Transition teams are tasked with helping Presidents-elect fill their cabinet and name some 4,000 political appointees to agency posts across the government.

The names on Trump’s list run counter to his campaign-trail rhetoric about the outsized influence of corporations and special interests in government policy, and his attacks on Clinton for being overly cozy with the private sector. These lobbyists have advocated for the industries they are now tasked with choosing people to regulate.

According to the Times, the energy sector is the area in which Trump’s transition team is most compromised. The Times reported that Michael McKenna, a lobbyist working to pick officials to oversee energy policy, has worked for the Southern Company, one of the loudest opponents of efforts to limit emissions from coal-burning power plants.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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