During the 2016 election, President-elect Donald Trump positioned himself as a Washington, D.C. outsider, above all the cronyism and "pay to play" politics that dominate the Beltway. "Drain the swamp!" became his campaign's slogan.
To ensure professional lobbyists are not occupying positions in Trump's transition team, Vice President-elect Mike Pence established a lobbying rule last week that precluded lobbyists from helping with the transition. The rule required transition members to sign an agreement certifying they are not a registered lobbyist. A Trump spokesperson told the Associated Press that Pence and transition director Rick Dearborn were "making good on President-elect Trump’s promise that we’re not going to have any lobbyists involved with the transition efforts."
But some lobbyists were involved in the transition efforts and others are informally advising the team, the Washington Post reported on Friday.
Since the lobbying rule was put in place, members of the transition team have had to deregister from from their lobbying clients. David Bernhardt, for example, who is leading the transition’s Interior Department issues, filed a termination report last Friday that ended his representation of lobbying client Westlands Water District. The filing indicates he will remain on the transition team.
At least two lobbyists, Mike McKenna and Mike Catanzaro, who had both been working on the transition to help form energy policy, had to resign from the team because of previous lobbying commitments.