by David Halperin, crossposted from Republic Report
In October 2016, candidate Donald Trump unveiled a package of government ethics reforms that he said would “drain the swamp” in Washington, DC; it included a ban on former federal employees lobbying the government for five years and stricter rules on what constitutes lobbying. He seemed to be promising to undermine the power of special interest lobbyists and restore government to the people.
But Trump’s every move since being elected has been in the opposite direction. A former coal lobbyist, Andrew Wheeler, runs the Environmental Protection Agency; an ex-pharmaceutical lobbyist, Alex Azar, runs Health and Human Services; former for-profit college lobbyists control policy at Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education; and much more. On issue after issue, from weakening protections against toxic pollution, to undermining access to health care, to giving tax advantages to the rich, the administration has sided with wealthy interests over working people.
This Thursday the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to consider Trump’s nomination of another former industry lobbyist, David Bernhardt, to be Secretary of the Interior.