The White House is now allowing an oil and gas lobbyist to help devise energy policy, financial lobbyists to work on a range of retirement and financial regulatory matters, and corporate lawyers to engage with their former colleagues.
The raft of waivers vastly exceeds the number issued in the early months of the Obama administration. More importantly, they authorize conflicts not permitted in the Obama administration.
They signify the corporate takeover of the government and the Trump administration’s utter disregard for ethical standards. It’s clear that, for the Trump White House, ethics rules are no more than an inconvenience to be waived aside if they interfere with corporate business as usual.
The White House counsel has concluded that is “appropriate and in the public interest” for Andrew Olmem, a former lobbyist for Metlife, American Express and the Property Casualty Insurers Association and other financial firms to work on issues related to financial stability, credit rating agencies and insurance regulation, among many other issues.
In what way is that appropriate or in the public interest?
What special attributes does Olmem bring to the job, other than a deep appreciation of the views of the corporations he will now help regulate?
From an administration that evidences contempt for conflict of interest standards and seems bound and determined to be remembered as the most corrupt in American history, there’s every reason to expect more of the same.
The example is indeed set at the top.
|NAME||AGENCY||JOB TITLE||BIO||SCOPE OF WAIVER||NATURE OF CONFLICT|
|All Executive Office of the President Appointees||Executive office of the President||All||All||May participate in communications and meetings with news organizations regarding broad policy matters.||Interaction with news organizations, such as Breitbart News, despite prior ties to those outlets.|
|Senior White House officials||White House senior officials||White House senior officials||White House senior officials||May participate in communications and meetings with Trump presidential campaign. Republican National Committee and other GOP organizations.|
|Andrew Olmem||Executive office of the President||Andrew Olmem is a special assistant to the president for financial policy.||Most recently, lobbyist for law and lobbying firm Venable. Former Senate Banking Committee staffer under Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.)||May participate in communications and meetings with former clients involving Puerto Rico's fiscal issues, international insurance capital agreements; flood insurance, bank regulation and "reforming" the Financial Stability Oversight Council's (FSOC) treatment of insurers.||Olmems former lobbying client, insurance giant MetLife is embroiled in lawsuit over whether it should be subjected to tighter regulation due to its potential impact on the financial system if it fails. Other former clients have a stake in the Puerto Rican debt crisis, including Angelo, Gordon & Co. and D.E. Shaw Galvanic Porfolios. Clients include trade groups and companies such as American Express and S&P Global, which have a stake in financial regulations that may be undone under Trump.|
|Charles Herndon||Executive office of the President||Director of White House Information Technology||Most recently and executive for information technology firm CSRA Inc. from February 2016 to Feburary 2017. Prior to that, spent three years working for SRA International.||May provide operational information technology services to the White House Office, the Office of Administration, and any other component of the Executive Office of the President which is not substantially related to specific matters he worked on while at CSRA Inc.||CRSA was the fourth largest federal information technology contractor in 2016. If Herndon's decisions benefited CSRA, that would constitute a conflict. However, as written, the waiver granted to him does not permit conflicts.|
|Christopher Liddell||Executive office of the President||Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives||Former executive from Hollywood talent agengy WME / IMG as well as General Motors, Microsoft and others||Temporary waiver pending disposition of certain trust assets. No longer in effect.||Liddell's waiver was intended to allow time for a trust which names Liddell's spouse and children as beneficiaries to divest potentially conflicting assets.|
|Claire Murray||Executive office of the President||Associate Counsel to the President||Former partner with Kirkland & Ellis LLP who served as an attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and clerked under U.S. Justice Samuel Alito.||May participate in communications and meetings where former law firm represents parties in matters affecting public policy issues which are important to the priorities of the Administration. This waiver is limited to matters in which she did not participate personally and substantially as a lawyer with the firm.||Kirland & Ellis has corporate clients representing corporate sectors, including energy (BP, Chesapeake Energy, Edison Mission Energy, Hess, NRG, SINOPEC), finance (Bain Capital, Bank of America, Blackstone, RBS, UBS), insurance (Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Nationwide), pharmaceuticals (Abbott Laboratories, AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Teva), technology and telecommunications (Cisco, DIRECTV, Dyson, Facebook, IBM, Intel, Motorola, Samsung, Verizon) as well as government contractors (Boeing, Honeywell, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Raytheon).|
|Daniel Epstein||Executive office of the President||Associate Counsel to the President||Epstein is the former executive director of Cause of Action Institute, a conservative "a government accountability nonprofit." Prior to joining Cause of Action Epstein worked for the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the U.S. House of Representatives and worked for the Charles Koch Foundation.||May provide legal advice to the White House Office or any agency of the executive branch and to take positions adverse to Cause of Action Institute.||Waiver allows Epstein to work with Cause of Action and associated coalitions and indicates that Epstein has a personal financial stake in Cause of Action, which has filed lawsuits and actions against Hillary Clinton over her emails, the IRS, the FTC, the Obama White House, and the CIA. While Cause of Action's donors are largely anonymous, it has been connected to the Koch Brothers political network.|
|Former Jones Day employees||Executive office of the President||Jones Day has been described as President Trump's "favorite law firm." As of March 14, 2017, Bloomberg reported at least 14 Jones Day lawyers had already joined the administration.||May participate in communications and meetings where Jones Day represents the President, his campaign, the transition, or political entities supporting the President.||Jones Day currently represents President Trump's campaign committee, the Republican National Committee and other Trump political action committees, according to the National Law Journal. The waiver covers six lawyers who work in the White House counsel's office, including Donald McGahn, the White House counsel. Jones Day's client list includes Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank, Chevron, Qualcomm, Toyota, Verizon, United Airlines, GE, GM, Volkswagon, Reynolds American, Inc (the second largest American tabacco company), and Gazprom export LLC (a Russian gas company).|
|Joshua Pitcock||Executive office of the President||Chief of Staff to Vice President Mike Pence||Worked for Pence during his time in the House, and when Pence became governor, Pitcock stayed in DC to lobby for the state of Indiana||May participate in broad policy matters relating to refugee policy, defense and veterans' issues, opiod abuse issues, environmental regulations, job, education, and trade policy, Iran sanctions, agricultural policy, financial, healthcare, and tax reform generally. May interact with representatives of the State of Indiana on matters not substantially related to specific matters he worked on while Indiana was his client.||Pitcock's firm lobbied for the state of Indiana since 2013 on a wide range of issues. This waiver grants him the ability to work on practically all matters he lobbied for, provided he doesn't do so with Indiana|
|Kellyanne Conway||Executive office of the President||Assistant to the President||Founded The Polling Company in 1995, advised many right wing GOP candidates before joining the Trump Campaign in 2016||May participate in communications and meetings involving former clients which are political, advocacy, trade, or non-profit organizations.||The Polling Company/Woman Trend, a polling company founded by Conway, which advises GOP politicians as well as corporations, including American Express, Hasbro, and Vaseline|
|Michael Catanzaro||Executive office of the President||Special Assistant to the President||Former lobbyist for CGCN Group. Also worked for FTI Consulting as well as for Capitol Hill Republicans.||May participate in policy involving climate, methane and other environmental regulations.||Catanzaro has been a lobbyist for American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, oil and gas exploration company Devon Energy Corp., energy services firm Halliburton Corp., oil exploration firm Hess, and Koch Companies Public Sector (which represents the conglomerate Koch Industries). He has lobbied on rules to limit methane emissions and on permission for U.S. businesses to export crude oil.|
|Reince Priebus||Executive office of the President||White House Chief of Staff||Former Republican National Committee chairman.||May participate in communications and meetings involving the Republican National Committee.||$100K bonus from previous job leading Republican National Committee paid out after election.|
|Rene Augustine||Executive office of the President||Special Assistant and Senior Associate Council to the President||Served as Associate Counsel to President George W. Bush and Senior Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Past experience includes work at corporate law firm Covington & Burling and at George Mason University's law school.||May fully participate in the Presidential appointee review process when financial interests are involved.||Holdings in six investment funds: Almanack LP Alpha Hedge Fund, Brightwood Capital III Partners, Carlysle GMS Finance, Hedge Premier Millenium USA Hedge Fund, Clinton Equity Strategies Fund LP and Hedge Forum Rennaissance Equity LLC).|
|Shahira Knight||Executive office of the President||Special Assistant to the President for Tax and Retirement Policy||Prior to joining the White House, Knight lobbied for C2 Group LLC, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, and Fidelity Investments (FMR LLC). Before lobbying, Knight worked as a staffer on the House Ways and Means Committee and the Joint Economic Committee.||May participate in broad policy matters and particular matters of general applicability relating to tax, retirement and financial services issues||Knight has been listed on lobbying disclosures for Fidelity Investments. During which time Fidelity has reported spending more than $7 million on lobbying related to numerous financial-regulation issues.|