President-elect Donald J. Trump, who campaigned against the corrupt power of special interests, is filling his transition team with some of the very sort of people who he has complained have too much clout in Washington: corporate consultants and lobbyists.
Jeffrey Eisenach, a consultant who has worked for years on behalf of Verizon and other telecommunications clients, is the head of the team that is helping to pick staff members at the Federal Communications Commission.
.. Mr. Trump was swept to power in large part by white working-class voters who responded to his vow to restore the voices of forgotten people, ones drowned out by big business and Wall Street. But in his transition to power, some of the most prominent voices will be those of advisers who come from the same industries for which they are being asked to help set the regulatory groundwork.
.. “This whole idea that he was an outsider and going to destroy the political establishment and drain the swamp were the lines of a con man, and guess what — he is being exposed as just that,” said Peter Wehner, who served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush before becoming a speechwriter for George W. Bush.
.. But in other areas, most notably the energy sector, the transition team advisers are far from independent.
Mr. Catanzaro’s client list is a who’s who of major corporate players — such as the Hess Corporation and Devon Energy — that have tried to challenge the Obama administration’s environmental and energy policies on issues such as how much methane gas can be released at oil and gas drilling sites, lobbying disclosure reports show.
.. David Malpass, the former chief economist at Bear Stearns, the Wall Street investment bank that collapsed during the 2008 financial crisis, is overseeing the “economic issues” portfolio of the transition
.. Mr. Eisenach, as a telecom industry consultant, has worked to help major cellular companies fight back against regulations proposed by the F.C.C. that would mandate so-called net neutrality — requiring providers to give equal access to their networks to outside companies. He is now helping to oversee the rebuilding of the staff at the F.C.C.
.. Dan DiMicco, a former chief executive of the steelmaking company Nucor, who now serves on the board of directors of Duke Energy, is heading the transition team for the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Mr. DiMicco has long argued that China is unfairly subsidizing its manufacturing sector at the expense of American jobs.
.. “This is one of the reasons you had such anger among voters — people rigging the system, gaming the system,” Mr. Freed said. “This represents more of the same.”
While Trump bashed Wall Street throughout the campaign, the financial services industry is hoping his victory, coupled with a GOP-led Congress, could open a path forward to easing regulations... “To say the world has changed is an understatement,” one bank lobbyist said. “The defensive issues we were concerned about we can be less concerned about. And we can start thinking about, to some degree, an affirmative agenda. … We didn’t have a plan B, so now everyone’s got to come up with a plan B.”.. One area where Trump could have the biggest impact is on the CFPB, the agency set up by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that has become a lightning rod for Republican criticism.The transition may jeopardize CFPB regulations aimed at curbing payday lending and the mandatory arbitration clauses that prevent consumers from taking companies to court... On the legislative side, small and regional banks, as well as credit unions, are well-positioned to see some regulatory relief, with political support from Republicans and moderate Democrats... Regional banks in particular have seen a change to their calculus. A coalition of regional lenders and credit card companies has been lobbying Congress to overhaul a section of Dodd-Frank that requires banks with more than $50 billion in assets to be subject to so-called enhanced prudential standards... Still, it’s unclear how Trump would square his populist rhetoric with the free market leanings of the broader Republican Party... The people leading Trump’s transition efforts indicate friendliness toward Wall Street and other financial firms, including his selection of former SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins to help fill posts at independent financial agencies. Atkins has said “one could write a book about the various problems with the statutory text and implementation” of Dodd-Frank. He is the chief executive of Patomak Global Partners, a financial services consulting firm staffed with former regulators... “There is an inherent contradiction between Donald Trump’s anti-Wall Street rhetoric and talk of ‘draining the swamp’ to make the government work for the people, and his possible Wall Street appointments to run big government agencies that regulate the financial sector to protect regular Americans,”.. hoped that the populist pitch made by Trump during the election “wasn’t just rhetoric that gets forgotten when you come to DC.”
With complete GOP control of the executive and legislative branches, top Republican policy experts see a chance for enacting a sweeping conservative agenda, from tougher immigration laws to tax reform to a repeal of Obamacare, and they want to jump on the bandwagon.
We’re on the cusp of accomplishing very big conservative policy goals, and that is very exciting,” says Lanhee Chen, policy director for Mitt Romney’s presidential run who as recently as July said Trump lacked an ‘ideological core.’
.. “The list of people actually willing to be considered has dramatically gone up.”
So has the number of D.C. insiders tripping over themselves to express support for Trump. “What will be really interesting is the number of D.C. lawyers and lobbyists who claim that they supported Trump all along,” says Ken Kies, a prominent tax lobbyist, Trump supporter and former chief-of-staff to the Joint Committee on Taxation. “They want to be able to show their clients that they have influence with Trump, even if they don’t.”
.. A person familiar with the meeting said Trump and his aides are debating who to tap for chief of staff. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Christie and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway are seen as leading candidates for the job.