The latest from Public Citizen on Trump’s corporate cronyism and conflicts of interest.
Donald Trump’s first run for office was famously dysfunctional. But his advisers now have put together a sprawling political operation that continually collects money from major donors, many of whom have interests before the Trump administration. Six groups funded by dozens of ultra-wealthy donors have raised more than $50 million to support President Donald Trump […]
Formerly a critic, Trump now exemplifies big-money politics.
How the chaos-creating Trump administration has turned cruelty to children into official government policy.
U.S. House Democrats have released emails that raise serious concerns about whether President Donald Trump personally directed government officials to prevent the relocation of the FBI’s headquarters from its Pennsylvania Avenue location in Washington, D.C. These documents suggest the need for further scrutiny of whether the decision was made in an effort to avoid potential […]
Until Donald Trump took office, ethics experts believed the system of conflict-of-interest rules and norms governing the White House and the rest of the executive branch was fairly robust. The Trump presidency, however, has exposed big holes in the system. According to Public Citizen’s ethics experts, the U.S. never before has had a president so […]
President Trump often claims that cutting back on regulations will help the U.S. economy. But the Trump administration’s zeal for slashing “red tape” ignores the massive benefits that regulations provide to consumers, workers and the economy.
Statistics, Schmatistics: SEC Enforcement Chief Rejects Numbers, Dollars as Metric for Corporate Enforcement
What’s the best way to figure out whether the government is doing a good job of cracking down on lawbreaking companies? If you ask the current bosses at one federal regulator, it isn’t the number of cases, or the total amount of fines. Nope. According to Stephanie Avakian, who co-directs enforcement for the Securities and […]
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the infamous billionaire political donor with a Cayman Islands-chartered yacht, has been awfully busy lately.
One year after Charlottesville, corporate executives crawl back to Trump.
More than 140 high-ranking Trump administration officials have ties to the corporate coalition pushing to roll back an Environmental Protection Agency rule on chemical plant safety.
Far from a tough guy, Trump is a softie on enforcement policies that protect Americans from lawbreaking corporations.
Whew! Finally we can all sleep soundly knowing that Trump is taking consumer protection seriously! President Trump has signed an executive order creating a “Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud.” That the name of Trump’s task force puts the “market” before consumers and lacks the word “enforcement” does not seem incidental — especially […]
“I did work for a coal company and I’m not ashamed of the work I did for a coal company,” the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, recently told agency employees. Wheeler’s statements highight an unfortunate reality in the wake of former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s resignation last week: Fans of clean air […]
At Trump’s businesses, you can check out any time you like, but the conflicts of interest never disappear.
“You are unfit to hold public office and undeserving of the public trust,” Representative Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey told Scott Pruitt, the current Environmental Protection Agency chief, when Pruitt testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 25th of this year. Pruitt is indeed unfit. If his business ties to the energy and coal companies that […]
President Trump has nominated Kathy Kraninger, currently an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to be the permanent director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Until now, the Acting Director of the CFPB since November 2017 has been Mick Mulvaney, who also directs the OMB. It was important that the president […]
Trump has scuttled hundreds of public protections.
Coal baron and climate change denialist Robert Murray developed six deregulatory executive orders and submitted them to the Trump administration suggesting ways to prop up the coal industry.
We found 77 high-ranking government positions filled by oil and auto industry lobbyists, lawyers, former employees and others with conflicts.
The mission of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commissionis to keep Americans safe from unreasonable risk of injury or death at the hands of consumer products. Unfortunately, one of President Donald Trump’s nominee nearly her entire career defending corporations in product safety cases, not looking out for consumers. As a partner at the corporate law […]
If at first you don’t get a regulatory rollback, try, try again. That appears to be the reality in Donald Trump’s Washington. After pushing unsuccessfully for regulatory changes that would benefit his oil refining business, billionaire Carl Icahn appears to have found a new way to accomplish the same goal. At the start of the Trump […]
When you sit on a chair, you expect that it won’t break. When you start your coffeemaker, you expect that it won’t catch on fire. When you put your child on a tricycle, you expect that the wheels won’t fall off. But product manufacturers don’t just test their products for safety out of the goodness […]
Trump’s penchant for self-dealing has validated every bit of the public’s disenchantement with our nation’s leaders.
“We’re not burning it down.” That’s Mick Mulvaney describing his management of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Yet he keeps setting fires – terminating enforcement, ignoring supervision, slashing funding, leaving vacancies unfilled and closing outstanding cases. John Michael “Mick” Mulvaney also serves as the Senate-confirmed director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Running OMB should […]
Did Administration Officials’ Financial Entanglements with China Delay Trump’s Promised Tough-on-China Trade Policy?
Washington insiders and pundits are obsessed with an “ideological” battle over trade in the White House. They argue that philosophical battle lines have been drawn between a pro-status-quo team led by exiting National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and a trade-change team led by White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro and U.S. Trade Representative Robert […]
On a Saturday afternoon about a week into his term, President Trump issued an ethics executive order designed to implement his campaign pledge to “drain the swamp.” The ethics order came as a surprise to many and borrowed some key provisions from President Barack Obama’s earlier ethics executive order. A key provision of the ethics order […]
By Claire Kaplan, Advocacy Intern If you drive on highways (or walk and bike underneath their overpasses) you already know that maintaining our roads is critically important. But infrastructure means more than roads, highways and bridges. It means schools, hospitals, water and even the internet. Infrastructure is one of the most essential services a government […]
This Trump Official Now Regulates Oil and Gas Companies Who Showered Him With Campaign Contributions
Guess what happens when a longtime oil and gas industry ally takes over a federal watchdog.
Inconvenient Information: How the Trump Administration Squelches Data, Uses Pseudo-Statistics, Stifles Expert Views and Cancels Important Studies
Information suppression, deletion and silence are hallmarks of the Trump administration.
Under the Trump administration, the revolving door between the U.S. government and law firms that represent big, powerful corporations is spinning like never before.
Now that Republicans in Congress have released a disputed and highly controversial intelligence memo alleging (with little evidence) that the FBI abused its surveillance authority, it’s time for some more valuable transparency. Donald Trump’s sons should immediately fulfill a promise made last year to donate to the federal government profits from foreign government payments to […]
Trump’s tax bill was a big boon for the K Street crowd.
Living under the Trump regime can feel like making your way through a dystopian novel. And after last night’s State of the Union, a few reality checks are in order. Reality Check #1: The Trump tax scam will not help regular families. The tax scam was designed to benefit corporations and the superrich — like […]
The votes are in and the hard-fought contest is finally over. The public has weighed in with their votes for the Trumpys – for the worst of the worst of the Trump administration. And now, without further ado, it’s time to announce the winners losers: The Trumpy for Worst Assault on Democracy goes to … Loser: Repealing […]
On the eve of the anniversary of President Donald Trump’s first year in the White House, Public Citizen has published a summary of findings from its research into Trump, with a particular focus on Trump’s swoon toward special interests, destruction of public protections and acts off self-dealing. Trump maintained a stake in hundreds of businesses […]
After a year in office, the Trump administration has put our country on the path to oligarchy.
Presidency for Sale: 64 Trade Groups, Companies, Candidates, Foreign Governments and Political Groups Spending Money at Trump’s Properties
From hotels to golf courses, restaurants and real estate developments, Trump presidency’s has created an unprecedented set of conflicts.
Today’s inexpensive wholesale electricity prices provide significant benefits for consumers, while preserving the power grid’s reliability. The only losers are those who own inefficient coal and nuclear power plants that have been rendered uneconomic by cheaper, cleaner, safer and more sustainable power generation. So what do economically failing owners of coal and nuclear power plants […]
Donald Trump’s presidency has spurred many commentators to draw an analogy to George Orwell’s 1984. The classic dystopian novel invents a world in which demonstrably false statements, or in today’s parlance — alternative facts — become political talking points. In pushing for the Republican tax bill, advocates use a strategy ripped from Orwell’s pages. Proponents of the […]
It took quite a conspiracy of lies and mendacity to drive tax cuts for the superrich and giant corporations through both houses of Congress. The tax scam is no done deal – House and Senate negotiators must still agree on a single package, and that package must win approval in both houses. Given the narrowness […]
With Trump Pushing To Lower Corporate Rates, More Than Half Of D.C. Lobbyists Plunge Into Tax Debate
6,243 lobbyists are working on tax issues this year.
The Koch Brothers infiltrate the White House.
This week, Public Citizen joined allies in protest outside the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). These protests aim to draw attention to a controversial move by President Donald Trump to turn the operation of the organization over to his budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, who has called the CFPB a “sick, sad” joke. Before he left […]
Our analysis finds the Trump administration has withdrawn 457 rulemakings, the most on record.
How One Section of the Trump Tax Scam Showers Wall Street, Silicon Valley and Big Pharma with Billions
President Trump and Republicans in Congress are poised to reward the biggest corporate tax shirkers with a “tax holiday” worth billions.
Just weeks after denouncing “out-of-control” prescription prices, President Donald Trump showed that giant pharmaceutical companies have nothing to fear from the Trump administration. In fact, they couldn’t be more pleased. By nominating a former pharmaceutical company executive, Alex Azar, to run the Department of Health and Human Services. Trump is ensuring that Big Pharma’s coup d’etat in the health […]
Big Pharma, Big Tax Savings
The Trump International Hotel has become a watering hole for those seeking to influence the Trump administration. This hotel, which opened before last year’s election, was constructed in a public building, the Old Post Office, and has created the highly unusual situation of a president deriving financial benefit from a business located just blocks from […]
Ivanka Trump talks a lot about her vision of women’s empowerment. Unfortunately, she ignores the plight of workers who make the clothing marketed under her name. That’s why more than 20 groups, led by Public Citizen, the International Labor Rights Forum and China Labor Watch, have sent a letter (PDF) to Ivanka Trump demanding she raise […]
The Trump administration’s nominee to lead the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has the wrong track record for the job. OSHA has been leaderless since January, when the Obama administration’s former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor, Dr. David Michaels, stepped down. Trump’s pick, Scott Mugno, is the vice president of safety, sustainability and vehicle […]
Donald Trump once had his own brand of steaks and prefers his meat well-done. Now he is taking the butcher’s knife to the livelihood of small farmers. Big agricultural corporations exert their near-monopoly power to force small farmers into precarious, unfair working conditions. Tyson, for example, has allegedly retaliated against a farmer who resisted the […]
Trump stands to profit from his administration’s actions.
Traveling like a Trump sure is expensive. Even as President Trump has complained about the cost of rebuilding hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, his administration has been anything but thrifty, displaying a penchant for chartered flights and expensive trips including Vice President Mike Pence’s brief and expensive stop at an Indianapolis Colts game over the weekend. The […]
How’s that whole swamp-draining thing working out?
Repealing the estate tax would be a yuuuge tax break for the super-wealthy
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress used an obscure law called the Congressional Review Act to repeal 14 public protections finalized under President Barack Obama. A holdover from Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America, the CRA allows Congress – by majority vote in both chambers, with limited debate, no possibility of a […]
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently described students burdened by high debt levels from fraudulent schools as being after free money. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, the Education Department is causing irreparable damage to student borrowers who say they were defrauded by a for-profit college that left them in overwhelming debt and holding […]
It’s no secret that the top legislative priority for many conservatives and corporations is so- called “tax reform.” The focus for many multinational companies is getting a free pass on taxes by pushing for a “territorial system,” which means zero taxes for profits characterized as generated by foreign subsidiaries. Right now American companies have an estimated […]
Retired Coal Executive Picked To Run Mine Safety Agency (and Even More Examples of Trump’s Corporate Government)
From coal to defense to consulting, corporate executives continue to flow into the Trump administration. It’s been evident for months that, despite the campaign’s populist rhetoric, high-level corporate ties, conflicts of interest and giveaways to industry are part and parcel of how the Trump administration does business. The latest crop of Trump administration nominees, announced Saturday, is […]
Our deep dive into Donald Trump’s finances.
Trump has met with 317 executives since the election.
While “tax reform” sounds like a worthy goal, there are many potential pitfalls along the line. With President Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress in the driver’s seat, the primary concern is that their eventual plan will further rig the economy in favor of the super-rich and wealthy corporations. This would result in drastic funding […]
Public Citizen is suing the Trump administration to preserve access to public information about who is meeting with top Trump administration officials. On Aug. 17, Public Citizen filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Secret Service, seeking to compel the agency to release visitor logs to four agencies housed in the White House complex. Public Citizen […]
President Trump’s announcement this week of an executive order designed to speed the construction of major infrastructure projects was overshadowed by his failure to fully denounce the while supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Nevertheless, Trump delivered a big gift to the building industry — a rollback of flood protections from rising sea levels — that […]
The fate of the country’s regulatory system rests, in part, on two hours of arguments made on Aug. 10 by Public Citizen and the federal government in a Washington, D.C., courtroom. On that day, Public Citizen went head-to-head in court against the federal government to challenge a “one-in, two-out” presidential executive order that is undermining […]
The Trump administration may be dazed and confused about many things, but not about its corporate agenda. From Scaramucci to Spicer, from Kelly to Kushner, one thing doesn’t change at Donald Trump’s chaotic White House: Its devotion to delivering for giant corporations at the public’s expense. During the campaign, Trump directed nearly as much venom toward […]
An unusual experiment with the truth from Donald Trump: he tweeted, truthfully, that “corporations have NEVER made as much money as they are making now.” But consider the lies that truth exposes. If corporations are making record profits – they are – then exactly why should the US adopt a gigantic corporate tax cut? There is only […]
Carl Icahn must be getting grouchy these days. Icahn, the activist investor, friend and adviser to President Donald Trump, has used his role as a friend and adviser to the president to push for in federal fuel regulations that would mean big profits for Icahn and a company he controls. Icahn’s big bet against biofuels […]
“The Justice Department is an extraordinarily left-wing institution.” I heard it, and I couldn’t believe it. Yet that’s what former House Speaker and Trump advisor Newt Gingrich told NPR’s Rachel Martin yesterday on Morning Edition. Really, Newt? The federal department that just yesterday filed a legal brief arguing that Title VII of the Civil Rights […]
Six months of corporate giveaways.
The revelation that Donald Trump, Jr. jumped on an offer to meet with a person described as a “Russian government attorney” bringing the Trump campaign gifts of documents that would injure the image of Hillary Clinton and help sway the election for Trump not only has ethical ramifications, it also raises a host of potential […]
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos effectively took away students’ rights when she delayed an Obama-era rule designed to protect them from predatory for-profit colleges, Public Citizen says in a lawsuit filed on behalf of two students who say their school lied to them about the quality of education it offered. Among other things, the Department of Education’s […]
Former lobbyists populate the Trump administration.
Nearly 70 percent of Trump’s sub-Cabinet officials have a corporate connection
In the Treasury Department’s 150-page inaugural financial sector report, responding to a presidential Executive Order, perhaps the most revealing sentence that explains why its recommendations threaten to run the industry off the guardrails is this: “The financial crisis that engulfed the U.S. economy in 2008 was initially precipitated by weaknesses in U.S. housing prices, an […]
Will energy efficiency requirements disappear under Trump?
The Trump administration appears intent on not telling the public much of anything about its ethics policies. Unlike the wave of unjustified (and even undated) waivers for White House personnel readily granted by the White House counsel, the agency waivers released today and approved by ethics officers outside the White House include relatively untroubling matters, […]
Those rubbing elbows with the president work for corporations that are far from upstanding citizens.
An oil and gas lobbyist works on energy policy, financial lobbyists to work on financial regulatory matters and corporate lawyers engage with their former colleagues.
Tax reform has been a hot topic since Donald Trump was elected president. Big corporations and the wealthy have been salivating over the prospect of a major tax cut ever since Trump released his “Tax reform that will make America Great Again” (or for short #TRTWMAGA) plan during the campaign and another plan in April. […]
Mick Mulvaney’s concerns over deficits applies only to spending on programs for the poor and disadvantaged, but not the wishes of the wealthy and corporations.
Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director and a former member of Congress from South Carolina, has long advocated for fiscal rectitude. But in 100 days as director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Mulvaney has shown his concern over deficits applies only to spending on programs for the poor and disadvantaged rather […]
Tough Guy Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that federal prosecutors will charge low-level drug offenders and others with the most serious crimes possible, despite overwhelming evidence and a bipartisan agreement that this approach is racially discriminatory and counterproductive. The Sessions approach will throw thousands of people – especially Americans from communities of color or with low-incomes – into […]
In Honor of Workers’ Memorial Week, each day this week Citizen Vox will discuss the need for safe jobs and call attention to the ways the Trump administration is dismantling key worker health and safety protections. Workers need an advocate in the White House. The Obama administration worked tirelessly to issue life-saving worker protections, such […]
Giant corporations have exerted far too much influence over government decision-making for decades. But we’ve never seen anything quite like the Trump administration.
Never before has a presidential transition been so in need of a safeguards to ensure adherence to ethical standards and prevent the appearance of impropriety.
Since his inauguration, President Trump has met with at least 190 corporate executives – averaging more than two a day.
At last week’s nomination hearing it was clear that Walter “Jay” Clayton, tapped to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by President Trump, is an unacceptable choice for the job. Mr. Clayton will likely have to recuse himself often from agency decisions based on his deep corporate background. These recusals coupled with his lack […]
Why “drain the swamp” turned out to be empty rhetoric.
On Monday, ExxonMobil issued a press release touting a $20 billion investment in a variety of fossil-fuel projects in Louisiana and Texas, which it says will employ 45,000 people at an average salary of $100,000. About 30 minutes later, the White House issued a release “congratulating” Exxon. The Tweeter-in-Chief also went social with the message on both […]
Jay Clayton, Donald Trump’s pick for Securities and Exchange Commission chair, has a lower public profile than most of Trump’s cabinet picks. One thing he does share with many of Trump’s closest advisers are deep ties to Goldman Sachs. Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, has an op-ed in the New York Daily News on the ethical […]
Month One of Trump’s Presidency: Enriching His Private Business, Carrying Out a Corporate Takeover, Putting Profits Before People
From day one, President Trump has used his position to expand and enrich his private businesses, install CEOs and corporate cronies at the highest levels of government and advance policies that prioritize profit at the expense of the public interest.
One month into the Trump administration, and it’s clear that there has been a wholesale corporate takeover of the government. A day-by-day review of the administration’s first month shows that virtually every day there has been a new, extraordinary grant of power to corporate interests and/or another development in Donald Trump’s get-rich-quick-scheme known as the American presidency. […]
Workers and their advocates celebrated on Wednesday as the news broke that Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination for Labor secretary. For more than 16 years, Puzder has served as the president and chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of fast food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. President Donald Trump’s selection of Puzder […]
Since President Donald Trump took office, he has put regulations–and the federal agencies that issue these vital public safeguards–squarely in his crosshairs. Parroting the talking points of big corporations, he has erroneously claimed that regulations cost jobs and dampen business ingenuity. Trump is dead wrong. So when on Jan. 30 he issued an executive order […]
Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Communications Workers of America have sued the Trump administration to block an executive order signed by President Donald Trump on Jan. 30 that directs federal agencies to repeal two federal regulations for every new rule they issue. The plaintiffs are asking the court to issue a declaration […]
Will Trump Keep His Promise to Return Government to the People? Pending Fight Over Oil & Gas Rule Will Show
President Donald Trump began his inaugural address by declaring that he would be “transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to [us], the people.” After having repeatedly promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington during his campaign, it comes as no surprise that he would continue to at least rhetorically train his fire […]
As a candidate, President-Elect Donald Trump railed against the “rigged political establishment” and promised to “drain the swamp” and “send the special interests packing.” But the incoming administration’s Inaugural Committee suggests the entrenched establishment of corporate interests and Republican big money donors will have significant influence over the incoming administration. We have previously investigated the […]
Despite the incoming administration of President-Elect Donald Trump’s efforts to keep inauguration donors secret, The New York Times has reported seven of the event’s corporate donors: AT&T, Bank of America, Boeing, Chevron, Deloitte, JPMorgan Chase and United Parcel Service. In exchange for the contributions, donors are to receive unprecedented access to the senior members of […]
President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to direct the Office of Management and Budget, U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), is unfit and unqualified to run the office, according to a report (PDF) by Public Citizen. Mulvaney holds extreme and often hypocritical views on federal budgeting, social insurance programs, financial reform, public health, protections for women and disaster relief – […]