No more lobbyists!
Vice President-elect Mike Pence has taken control of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, which included letting go of all the lobbyists:
Trump had been under fire for having a transition team filled with lobbyists and other insiders, given his campaign pledge to “drain the swamp.” There had been roughly a dozen registered lobbyists working in and around the transition team, reports have said.
Those lobbyists included Rob Collins of S-3 Group, Mike Catanzaro at CGCN Group, Martin Whitmer of Whitmer & Worrall, J. Steven Hart at Williams & Jensen and tobacco company Altria’s Cindy Hayden, among others.
Pence took over from Gov. Chris Christie last week, who included all the lobbyists. A source close to the team said Pence let them all go because it “makes good on [Trump’s] vision of how he wants his government constructed.”
Christie’s team featured too many lobbyists, which drew criticism from those in Congress:
It had also drawn the attention of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who repeatedly attacked Trump during the campaign on behalf of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. On Tuesday, Warren called on Trump to replace more than 20 members of his transition team with ties to Wall Street firms and other corporations.
“If you refuse,” Warren wrote, “I will oppose you, every step of the way, for the next four years. I will champion the millions of Americans you will fail to protect. I will track your every move, and I will remind Americans, every day, of the actions you take that fail them.”
Now the Trump team has to hand over “names of individuals they have authorized to represent the transition effort across the government” to the Obama administration.
Pence will also work closely with Trump to select members of his cabinet, hoping to build a trusting relationship between Congress and Trump. As The Wall Street Journal reported, not everyone has accepted Trump’s choices, especially Mayor Rudy Guiliani for Secretary of State.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) did not approve of Guiliani’s call to bomb Iran in 2015 and he does not think Trump should give the job to former UN Ambassador John Bolton either:
The pair represents “the most bellicose interventionist wing of any party,” Mr. Paul told Reason magazine. “I can’t support anybody to be our secretary of state who didn’t learn the lesson of the Iraq war.”
But that’s not the only obstacle for Guiliani. The team needs to review his “paid consulting work for foreign governments” to make sure he does not have a conflict of interest:
Giuliani founded his own firm, Giuliani Partners, in 2001, and helped businesses on behalf of foreign governments, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. He also advised TransCanada, which sought to build the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, and helped the maker of the painkiller drug OxyContin settle a dispute with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
There are concerns with his appearances with Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq, “which the State Department designated as a terrorist organization from 1997-2012:”
Last year, Mr. Giuliani addressed MEK leaders in Paris and called for the overthrow of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his clerical regime. “The Ayatollah must go! Gone! Out! No more!” Mr. Giuliani told a crowd of thousands. “He and Rouhani and Ahmadinejad and all of the rest of them should be put on trial for crimes against humanity.”
The MEK paid Mr. Giuliani and other former U.S. officials to speak at its events, according to group leaders and U.S. officials who investigated the matter. Speaking fees ranged from $25,000 to $40,000 per appearance.
Not everyone opposes Guiliani:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said Tuesday he could work with Mr. Giuliani if he were tapped as secretary of state. “Rudy is an internationally known figure, he’s a personal friend, he has dealt with the unimaginable which was 9/11. He was a loyal supporter of President Trump; he should be rewarded in my view,” said Mr. Graham, who had opposed Mr. Trump in the campaign.
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.