It probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to learn that Donald Trump does not appear to be “draining the swamp” as he had promised during the presidential campaign.
As it turns out, total spending on lobbying in 2017, Trump’s first year in office, jumped to $3.34 billion, the highest level since 2010, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks such things.
Two of the issues driving that spike, according to USA Today, were the Republicans’ sweeping tax overhaul in favor of corporations and the wealthiest of the wealthy—a piece of legislation largely written by lobbyists and passed in the dead of night—and the Trump administration’s draconian push for immigration reform.
That, and the general knowledge that Trump is the most unethical president in the history of the office when it comes to enriching his family and friends and rolling back governmental regulations in favor of corporations and wealthy elite.
“Lobbyists appear not to have gotten the memo about draining the swamp,” Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, told the newspaper.
In an inaugural speech filled with populist rhetoric a year ago, Trump had promised to transform the country and redistribute its wealth. “Today’s ceremony,” Trump said, “has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another — but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the American people.”
In an editorial published earlier this week, The New York Times pointed out that not only has the country failed to flourish during Trump’s first year in office, but the president himself “has reaped some of the rewards.”
The paper cited government watchdog group Public Citizen, which documented 64 instances of trade groups, companies, religious groups, charities, foreign governments, interest groups, and political candidates staying in Trump properties or holding events there. These include everything and everyone from the American Petroleum Institute to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the watchdog group said.
As the Times’ editorial noted:
The Trump transition’s “beachhead teams,” which essentially took control of federal departments and other agencies without needing Senate approval, bristled with lobbyists, some working inside the same agencies regulating their former industries. Cartoonishly self-interested cabinet members and senior advisers were drawn from the corporate elite Mr. Trump derided on the campaign trail. “I’m going to fight for every person in this country who believes government should serve the people — not the donors and special interests,” Mr. Trump promised. Not so much.
Or, not at all.