While many political advisers formerly associated with the Trump-Pence campaign are now cashing in on their new connections, Donald Trump's first campaign manager may be among the most egregious offenders when it comes to shamelessly capitalizing on his relationship with the president — and he hasn't even formally registered as a lobbyist.
In addition to his well-known firm Avenue Strategies, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has co-founded a number of other firms that specifically caters to foreign businesses, according to a report by Politico. A document given to an Eastern European politician by one of these companies — Washington East West Political Strategies — told clients that they can arrange "meetings with well-established figures" and "key members of the U.S. administration," including President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Other firms founded by Lewandowski and Trump campaign strategist Barry Bennett cater to businesses in Canada, Central America and the Middle East. Individuals familiar with how Lewandowski presents himself to potential clients for Avenue Strategies have said that he specifically mentions his ability to personally call Trump and members of Trump's cabinet.
Nevertheless, Bennett insisted that Lewandowski doesn't personally lobby, hence why he hasn't registered as a lobbyist. As he told Politico: "90 percent of our business has nothing to do with access. Ninety percent of our business has to do with being a sherpa — who to call, what to do. We don’t take people in to see the president or the vice president."
Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs for a government watchdog group known as Public Citizen, told Politico that "whether Corey Lewandowski is just engaging in business as usual or actually going further, it definitely has a pervading swampiness to it that has become the new normal in Trump’s Washington."
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