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 corporate connections of Trump’s transition team and cabinet nominees.
Below is a list of Trump’s inaugural committee members and a brief documentation of these members’ corporate ties. These are the individuals who are largely responsible for soliciting donations, and also are likely to have made donations themselves.
Thomas Barrack, Jr. heads the inaugural committee and is the committee’s primary spokesperson. A “California a private equity real estate investor,” Barrack founded the $34 billion firm Colony Capital, which recently completed a merger with NorthStar Asset Management, making the merged $58 billion dollar company the fifth-largest real estate management firm in the world. Barrack has contributed contributed $214,436 to political candidates and campaigns since 1992, mostly favoring Republicans.
Roy Bailey is a partner and managing director of Giuliani LLC, the consulting firm founded and led by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Bailey also is a former finance chairman of the Republican Party of Texas. Bailey has contributed $49,093 to Republican political candidates and campaigns since 1992.
Lew Eisenberg is a Goldman Sachs alum and a co-founder of Granite Capital International Group, a hedge fund. Eisenberg is under consideration to be Trump’s ambassador to Spain. He contributed $19,400 to Republican candidates and campaigns since 1994.
Sheldon Adelson and Dr. Miriam Adelson contributed $5 million toward Trump’s inauguration. A major Republican donor with a net worth of more than $31 billion, Sheldon is chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, the largest casino corporation in the U.S. Miriam, Sheldon’s wife, is a medical doctor. The Adelsons have spent more than $176 million supporting Republicans and conservative candidates and causes since 2012.
Brian Ballard is a Republican fundraiser and lobbyist who heads Florida-based firm Ballard Partners. Ballard was the Trump Organization’s lobbyist in Florida for several years. He served as Trump’s Florida finance chairman, and was a major fundraiser for Sen. John McCain in 2008 and Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012. Ballard has contributed $402,133 to Republican candidates and campaigns since 1999.
Gentry Beach is a co-director, along with Trump sons Eric and Don Jr. and Tommy Hicks, of Opening Day, a Texas nonprofit that was criticized for auctioning access to Trump’s sons as a fundraiser. Beach sued, and was counter-sued by, his former employer, hedge fund Touradji Capital Management. Beach contributed $5,000 to the Republican National Committee in 2016.
Elliott Broidy is CEO and chairman of Broidy Capital Management. Broidy pleaded guilty to a felony corruption charge in 2009. “Broidy paid nearly a million dollars in bribes to get a quarter billion dollar investment,” said New York Governor Anthony Cuomo in a statement. He is a former finance committee chairman for the Republican National Committee. A tongue-in-cheek “autobiography” on Broidy’s web page states, “All actions of this political fundraiser show that he will willingly break the law and sacrifice basic moral norms for the sake of financial gain. In fact this is how Broidy operates in most of his business dealings.” Broidy has contributed $439,649 to political candidates and campaigns, mostly Republicans, since 1992.
Robert Grand is a lawyer and partner at Barnes & Thornburg, a corporate law firm whose past clients include Bank of America, McDonald’s, Walgreen Co., and TASER International. As governor, Vice President-Elect Mike Pence hired Barnes & Thornburg for Indiana’s lawsuit against President Obama’s immigration policies. He has contributed $243,132 to Republican candidates and campaigns since 1989.
Diane Hendricks is the cofounder and chairman of ABC Supply, a Wisconsin-based roofing supply company. Her net worth is $4.3 billion. She is among those thanked by Charles Koch for contributing $1 million toward the secretive retreats the billionaire hosts with his brother David for the right wing of the super rich. She has contributed more than $15.6 million toward Republican candidates and campaigns since 1992.
Tommy Hicks is a partner and managing director at private equity firm Hicks Equity Partners as well as a partner at Hicks Holding LLC and a partner at Hicks Trans American Partners. Hicks also is co-director, along with Trump sons Eric and Don Jr. and Gentry Beach, of Opening Day, a Texas nonprofit that was criticized for auctioning access to Trump’s sons as a fundraiser. He has contributed $13,200 to Republican political campaigns since 2015.
Gail Icahn is the wife of billionaire corporate raider Carl Icahn, who has a net worth of more than $16 billion and is Trump’s pick to serve as the president’s special advisor on regulatory reform. She is the founder of Gutsy Women Travel. She has contributed $291,548 to political candidates and campaigns, mostly Republicans, since 2006. Together with her husband Carl the couple has contributed $983,746 to political candidates and campaigns since 1989, mostly Republicans.
Woody Johnson is owner of the New York Jets and a top Republican fundraiser. Johnson backed Jeb Bush in the Republican primary; Trump tweeted mockingly about Johnson when his football team did not make the playoffs. He has contributed $321,600 to political candidates and campaigns, mostly Republican, since 2001.
Laurie Perlmutter is the wife of Marvel Comics CEO Ike Perlmutter, who pledged to contribute $1 million to a Trump-organized veterans charity. The Perlmutters’ net worth is $3.8 billion. Ike contributed $3,300 to support the presidential campaigns of Sen. Bob Dole and Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Phil Ruffin is co-owner of Trump International in Las Vegas and owner of Treasure Island Resort and Casino and other properties including strip malls, office parks, and hotels. Ruffin donated $1 million toward Trump’s inauguration. He has contributed $491,000 to political candidates and campaigns, mostly Republicans, since 2001.
Anthony Scaramucci is a Goldman Sachs alum and founder of SkyBridge Capital, a hedge fund. He has been hired by the Trump White House to work as a liaison between corporate interests and politicians. Since 1993, he has contributed $819,793 to political candidates and campaigns, mostly Republican.
Ambassador Mel Sembler is chairman emeritus of the Sembler Company, a real estate development corporation with a reputation for big spending on lobbyists. He served as an ambassador for Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. He is a former head of the International Council of Shopping Centers, the trade association for shopping plaza developers. He has since 1989 contributed $636,522 toward political candidates, campaigns and causes, mostly Republican.
Ray W. Washburne is CEO and president of Charter Holdings, a Texas-based real estate development corporation. He has since 1993 contributed $413,931 toward political candidates and campaigns, mostly Republican.
Ambassador Ron Weiser is the founder of McKinley Associates, a real estate development corporation, and a Republican fundraiser and ambassador under President George H.W. Bush. He has since 1995 contributed $60,325 to Republican political candidates and campaigns.
Steve Wynn is chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, a Las Vegas real estate development corporation. He has since 2000 contributed $51,300 to political candidates and campaigns, split roughly 60–40 between Republicans and Democrats.