Lobbying on Tax Reform

August 17th, 2017 by Allison Rosenstock

President Trump is ready to sign a tax reform bill in the fall. However, the last time Congress “overhauled the tax code” was in 1986. At that time, it seemed impossible to pass a broad bill with only Republican votes, according to Politico. Therefore, tax lobbyists are attempting to predict what the bill that gets passed will look like. “Some are pushing for Republicans to embrace a long-shot strategy to tie tax reform to an infrastructure spending package to bring Democrats on board. Others have given up hope that Congress will be able to pass anything more than a temporary tax cut for individuals- maybe the only measure that can attract 50 Republican votes in the Senate.”

Some who were working on the Hill in 1986 suggest that the bill will include lower rates and some business tax changes, with some temporary tax cuts. Lobbyists say that “Republicans don’t seem to have made enough progress to get a bill to the president’s desk by the end of the year.” However, even the potential for tax reform has caused tax lobbying to skyrocket. “Lobbying firms have signed 355 contracts to lobby on taxes so far this year…That’s more than double the 152 contracts signed in the same period last year.”

However, Congress is not likely to make any headway on tax reform before it solves the issue of raising the debt ceiling and preventing a government shutdown. Further, the difference between the reform bill of the 1980s and what is being proposed today is that the bill did not hit Reagan’s desk until two years after it started being discussed. Also, Reagan had a 60% approval rating at the time, whereas Trump’s approval rating currently lies at 36%.

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The Democratic Party’s Potential Fundraising Crisis

August 10th, 2017 by Allison Rosenstock

Even though the Democratic base is energized, “the party has a serious fundraising crisis,” according to Politico. While the Republican National Committee raised $75 million over the first half of 2017, the Democratic National Committee only pulled in $38 million. Surprisingly, Republicans have taken the lead over Democrats when it comes to small-dollar fundraising.

The lack in small-dollar fundraising is a symptom of the Democrats’ recent struggle for grass-roots enthusiasm and passion for cold calling and knocking on doors. Those on Bernie Sanders’ campaign argue that the Trump campaign took their ideas and mimicked them to attract small donors. Both the Sanders campaign and the Trump campaign used powerful messaging, rather than “hiring the right people or using the right technology,” to reach voters.

Previously, Democrats were the champions of small-dollar fundraising, especially in Howard Dean’s and Barack Obama’s campaigns. However, Donald Trump outdid them both by raising $329 million in small donations. Now, to brighten their future, the DNC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DNCC) need to update their tactics.  This includes changing their current email tactic- attempting to “shock, depress, or shame people into action”- to empowering people to take action. Further, “instead of tricking people into donating, it should give people something to believe in, and show how they can win together.” However, this will not be easy for an ailing party with outdated outreach methods. Experts believe without an overhaul, “the Democratic Party is going to keep losing to Donald Trump and the Republicans in the money race, big and small.”

Lobbying Expenses Increase, Lobbyists in Washington Decrease

August 3rd, 2017 by Allison Rosenstock

Lobbying spending in the first six months of 2017- $1.66 billion- is the highest it’s been since the first half of 2012. After the first half of 2012, lobbying spending dropped by about $50 million in 2013.

However, according to Open Secrets, the number of lobbyists in DC is shrinking. “Since the first quarter of this year, approximately 940 stopped lobbying, but 605 new lobbyists entered the fray. This ebb and flow brought the total number of active lobbyists for the second quarter to 9,460- 335 less than the first quarter.

While it may seem like lobbyists are dwindling, a report from the Center of Responsive Politics shows that one-third of 2016 lobbyists “who were not active in the first quarter of 2017 stayed at the same company, but now work under a new title that suggests they still work to influence US federal policy.” Therefore, Open Secrets predicts that many former lobbyists stay involved in influencing policy without the same level of public scrutiny.

One area of major lobbying growth has been in the internet industry. Companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc, are “at the forefront of the industry’s lobbying efforts.”  The internet industry increased its lobbying spending by fourteen percent in the first six months of 2017 compared to the first six month of 2016. Other tech companies such as Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp also saw increased lobbying efforts in the first half of 2017. Apple’s lobbying efforts increased by 60 percent, while Microsoft’s increased by 9 percent. However, groups lobbying on women’s issues saw a major drop in lobbying spending. The exception to that rule are organizations that lobby for Planned Parenthood.

Interview with Rich Cohen, Chief Author of the Almanac of American Politics

July 27th, 2017 by Allison Rosenstock

The Almanac of American Politics is the unparalleled reference for the people, places, and perceptions that are reshaping American Politics. The 2018 Almanac remains the gold standard for accurate, accessible, usable political information, relied on by everyone involved, invested, or interested in American politics.

What was your role in the writing of the Almanac?

I was chiefly responsible for writing profiles of the 435 House Members and their districts. I enjoy staying current on the election campaigns for each of those members, plus their work in Washington. I also seek to depict notable recent activities, plus social and economic changes in their constituencies. I began as Almanac co-author in 2001 and became chief author with the 2016 Almanac.

What were some important additions to the 2018 edition of the Almanac?

For the first time, the Almanac includes profiles of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence written by Michael Barone, founding author of the Almanac. We also have included data tables from the Brookings Institute’s Vital Statistics on Congress.

What is your favorite part about being on the Almanac team?

Writing the Almanac is certainly a team effort. One of my favorite parts of working on the Almanac is being exposed to extraordinary research. The 2018 Almanac features excellent research by our team at Ballotpedia. During a three-month period, they produced a research file on recent activities for each of the 435 House Members and their districts, 100 Senators, 50 governors and their states. Clark Benson of Polidata prepared maps for the 50 states, including three states that redrew their congressional district lines since the publication of the 2016 Almanac.

Besides being the Chief Author of the Almanac, what else do you do?

Currently, I am an Adjunct Professor in the Government Department at George Mason University. I also recently worked on Partisan Divide with Former Reps. Tom Davis and Martin Frost. Previously, I was a Congressional Reporter for the National Journal for 37 years.

Given the current political climate, what challenges did you face when writing the new edition of the Almanac?

The growing polarization in American politics increases the challenge of writing for an audience of readers who are active partisans of all ideologies. Some readers, of course, are not members of either party. We view it as essential that all readers view the Almanac as fair, thorough and accurate.

How was working on the 2018 edition different than previous editions of the Almanac?

The unusual dynamics of the 2016 presidential campaign formed a vital back-drop to our research and writing. Much more than in the past, the 2018 Almanac describes how Members of Congress and governors in both parties inter-acted with and responded to the presidential candidates, especially Donald Trump. We decided to include those features as an important part of our coverage, as we began our research and writing following the election.

What was the most interesting fact you learned about a Member of Congress or Governor when writing the member profiles?

Broadly speaking, all of the people whom we profile have won elections. As writers and editors, we keep in mind the significance of the political context. In that context, the very close victory of Democrat Maggie Hassan in the Senate contest in New Hampshire—a state where all four members of Congress are Democrats, but Republican Chris Sununu was elected governor in 2016—was a reminder of the hard-fought campaigns in that state. Plus, Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in New Hampshire by less than one-half of one percent of the total vote, as we detail in our profile of that state.

Which freshman Member of Congress or Governor gave you the most trouble in creating their profile and why?

Freshman Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana offered some challenges. He had been a sheriff in the Bayous and was relatively unknown politically. His victory was a surprise to those who had been following that election, and we found relatively little news-media coverage of his campaign. Note, also, that the Almanac photograph of Higgins features him with a hat and open-collar shirt, rather than the customary coat and tie for men.

Having participated in multiple editions of the Almanac, have you found a Member you particularly enjoy writing about?

Of course, each Member of Congress is a vital part of the Almanac. And we make every effort to assure that each profile is informative and current. Typically, the longest—and probably the most widely read—are the profiles of the party leaders in both the House and Senate. The evolution of the careers of Reps. Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi, like those of Sens. Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell, offers valuable insight to Almanac readers.

Who was your favorite Governor to write about?

Gov. John Kasich of Ohio presented some challenges because of his Republican presidential candidacy, which ended with his decision not to endorse Donald Trump. Kasich also has been an active governor in his home state. We hope that all readers will find his profile worth reading.

 

Pre-order your copy of the 2018 Edition of the Almanac of American Politics HERE.

The Campaign Finance Reform Argument Revived

July 20th, 2017 by Allison Rosenstock

This week, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) is introducing a new campaign finance bill. According to Politico, “the legislation, as in previous versions, would require super PACs, nonprofits, corporations, and unions that spend money in elections to disclose donors that have given $10,000 or more each time they spend at least $10,000 on political activity. The bill would also prohibit domestic corporations under foreign control from spending money in elections and force shell companies to make their funders public.”

Two years ago, Senator Whitehouse’s website posted an article on the five-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The website claims it was a “disastrous decision, which opened the floodgates for unlimited, secret spending in American elections.” It goes on to explain the DISCLOSE Act, which would require political groups to disclose where their money is coming from. The DISCLOSE Act would require any organization which spent over $10,000 during an election cycle to file a report with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours.

This week’s act is an updated version of the DISCLOSE Act. The full bill can be found here. However, campaign finance reform has not been on the radar of Washington elite in some time. Whitehouse and his backers will have to work hard to have the bill get any attention, especially before August recess. Most Senators are far more concerned with healthcare at the moment. Shortly after Citizens United, the media was flooded with articles such as one Time magazine article which grappled with the topic of whether money can buy power.

Draining the Swamp, or Lining the New Tub with Gold?

July 13th, 2017 by Allison Rosenstock

According to Mark Leibovich of the New York Times, “the swamp feels anything but drained; more like remodeled into a gold-plated hot tub.” Much of this is due to Trump’s personal style with which he communicates. For example, the Trump White House has associated access with power.  However, “getting close to him requires less sucking up than it did with pre-Trump presidents.”  The term “access” is morphing with the Trump administration. Where once getting close to a President required judicious planning, now it may only require a compliment on Twitter.

However, getting close to Trump is just the first step. Because his decision making has been unpredictable thus far, lobbyists and corporations have been forced to tread lightly, for fear of “doing something to agitate the White House.” Along with presenting new challenges for players off the Hill, Trump also is changing the game within his own party. Republican members of Congress are being forced to defend the President more than usual, especially due to his Twitter activity.

One friend of the President who has managed to navigate being close but not too close is Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski is one of Trump’s former campaign managers and confidant. He manages to steer clear of day to day issues, while remaining in Trump’s inner circle. Most of the other loud Trump supporters are columnists or former politicians who no longer have to face voters.

The communication style in Washington is changing, and not just due to Trump’s tweets, but rather how the administration deals with allies versus adversaries. Unfortunately, the Republican party is not updating their communication style as quickly as the administration is.

 

Documentary Film and Advocacy

July 6th, 2017 by Allison Rosenstock

Earlier this summer, a report was released which detailed the relationship between documentary films and public policy. The report begins by explaining that policy does not change quickly, therefore a film’s impact may not be fully understood until years after it premiered. However, it stresses the importance of choosing effective associations and advocacy groups as partners and understanding a story’s unique value.

According to the New York Times, funding is one major road block for advocacy films. However, one director said, “If these funders weren’t funding activist films, they would be funding some other form of activism- not some other form of filmmaking.”  Therefore, finding the right source of funds for a project is crucial. The aforementioned report rebuts this claim by arguing that groups can find an ideal match when both sides agree that they do not have to make money from the film, but rather, ensure that the film is as widely distributed as possible. The report also explains a general recipe for success. These steps include finding the crucial timing for an issue, strategic marketing, and policymaker screenings with specialized versions of the film.

Documentary film makers must also consider their entry point such as: raising awareness, growing a coalition, winning an election, holding a congressional hearing, introducing legislation, passing legislation, issuing regulations, and carrying out the law. Any of those events can drum up attention for the social issue which is the focus of the film. Further, it is essential to work with congress, especially knowing committee assignments and chairmanships, local angles, new members of congress, and congressional staff.

Similar to when organization organize fly ins, documentary films must have an agenda which aligns with the political and social goals of the film.

Shadow Lobbyists on the Rise?

June 29th, 2017 by Allison Rosenstock

Trump promised to drain the swamp, and by the numbers, he has done just that. 448 individuals who lobbied in the third quarter of 2016 did not report activity during the next two quarters. However, according to the Center for Responsive Politics and Open Secrets, “for the first time in five years,” the amount of money spent by organizations that were already registered went up in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period the previous year.”

While the lobbying firms are spending more money, and over half of the lobbyists are working for the same employer, twelve percent of the registered lobbyists are unaccounted for. Companies are claiming that their employees are moving to other parts of the company. David Whitrap, Vice President of corporate communications for Vertex Pharmaceuticals claims that, “it is quite common for our employees to move from department to department as they see opportunities to expand their experience and skill set.”

According to Bloomberg Politics, Trump’s ethics pledge could have opened the door to increased shadow lobbying. While many on Trump’s team came from lobbying backgrounds, such as Taylor Hansen and Byron Anderson. His pledge requires all appointees to not engage in lobbying activity for five years after they leave the federal government. However, many federal government employees have yet to sign the agreement.

The Center for Responsive Politics concludes that even though the number of registered lobbyists is decreasing, that does not mean that lobbying activity is declining. Rather, many lobbyists are continuing to work with the same employer, regardless of both former President Obama’s and President Trump’s attack on lobbyists. They also claim that “although we do find some differences by partisanship, the bigger picture is that despite denunciations of lobbyists by senior politicians in both parties, more and more lobbying goes on beyond public scrutiny, making it harder to hold those in power to account.”

The Future of Digital Advocacy

June 22nd, 2017 by Allison Rosenstock

This year, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg vowed to use Facebook as a tool to increase civic engagement among users.  According to Tech Crunch, in part, this decision is a reaction to the role that Facebook played in U.S. elections, especially the 2016 Presidential election.  In March, Facebook released a new feature called “Town Hall,” which allows users to easily locate, follow, and contact their representatives at the local, state, and federal levels.

Because Facebook was accused of helping Donald Trump win by “doing nothing to prevent the spread of fake news and disinformation across its network,” Zuckerberg and his team have released new controls. These include PSAs on how to identify inaccurate reporting and downranking unreliable news stories from its Trending section.

In addition to the new censoring system, Facebook is making it easier for constituents to contact their representatives.  Now, you can share your rep’s contact information on your posts.  Elected officials can also communicate directly with constituents, and better understand them based on their digital footprint. Facebook has done this through the addition of three new features: constituent badges which allow elected officials to track constituent activity, constituent insights which allows elected officials to stay current with local news stories in their district, and district targeting which allows elected officials to receive feedback from constituents through Facebook directly.

Many in Washington now claim that “social media and digital advocacy, not traditional lobbying, as the fastest-growing segments of the influence industry according to a recent survey of Washington lobbyists, lawyers, association executives, and think tank leaders.” The greatest percentage of respondents- 38%- said they expect organizations to increase their social media presence to influence policymakers. The next largest percentage- 21%- believe organizations will increase their digital capabilities over the next five years.

Lobbying in the Wake of the GOP Baseball Practice Shooting

June 15th, 2017 by Allison Rosenstock

According to an AP Report, following the shooting, the lobbying effort and a related hearing on gun silencers were canceled following the shooting on Wednesday. However, gun control lobbyists have not given- both on the federal level and the state level. They do not have a specific strategy moving forward to challenge the Trump administration and the Republican-led Congress. After the shooting, gun-control groups immediately showed support for the victims, then called for Congressional action. Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in 2011, also tweeted her support for her former colleagues.

The National Rifle Association has gone on the offensive stating that the Capitol police were the “good guys with guns [and] kept this from getting worse.” The NRA plans to push gun-friendly legislation at the state and federal level and argue against new gun-control measures. Trump allies appear to agree with this sentiment, including Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., who has a permit to carry a gun. He also claimed that he will be carrying his gun with him at all times from now on. According to the LA Times, Rep. Mo Brooks, who was shot at this Wednesday, continues to be pro-gun, pro-2nd Amendment. Further, according to a Washington Post report, the guns the shooter used were purchased from licensed dealers.

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., introduced the Hearing Protection Act to remove silencers from the National Firearms Act, which has regulated silencers and machine guns for more than 80 years. It is backed by the NRA. However, gun-control groups claim the bill puts gun manufacturer’s profits over safety. President Trump also signed a bill in February which blocked a rule that would have kept guns out of the hands of certain people with mental disorders.

From all the staff at Lobbyists.info, our thoughts are with all the victims, including lobbyist Matt Mika.

The Administration and Lobbying Activity

June 9th, 2017 by Allison Rosenstock

While Lobbyblog.com previously reported that President Donald Trump had a negative view on the lobbying industry on the campaign, the administration now finds themselves at the helm of three lobbying skirmishes.  First, which could prove to be positive, the administration has floated the idea of including solar panels on the planned Mexican border wall.  According to Politico, the solar power lobby is on board with the idea. The Solar Energy Industry Association appreciates President Trump’s apparent appreciation of the benefits of solar energy. While the border wall has not yet been approved, Trump may now have the support of the solar lobby.

Second, Democrats are starting a new nonprofit in the wake of the Obamacare debate. The nonprofit, Consumers for Quality Care, will be led by former Del. Donna Christensen and Jim Manley, former senior advisor to Sens. Harry Reid and Edward Kennedy. Scott Mulhauser, who was senior adviser to the Senate Finance Committee and former Vice President Biden, will also be involved.

Regarding the Travel Ban and Open Skies conflict, the Air Line Pilots Association accused U.S. Travel Association of essentially lobbying on behalf of the UAE. ALPS is now calling on U.S. Travel to register itself as a foreign agent and list the UAE on lobbying disclosure forms. Trump’s travel ban appears to have caused some controversy among the travel industry.

All three examples are tied to Trump administration policies or efforts. However, Trump is also involved in lobbying on a personal front.  According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump Hotel received $270,000 from a lobbying campaign tied to Saudi Arabia. The contribution was disclosed to the Justice Department, however it has sparked the interest of many in Washington. Lobbyblog will follow the story.

Mixed Results for Lobbyists So Far Under Trump

June 1st, 2017 by Matthew Barnes

After the outcome of the 2016 election many in Washington, D.C. expected a flurry of lobbying activity under the new 115th Congress and Administration. Republicans finally had control of the White House and both chambers of Congress. Many industry experts talked about the end of gridlock and a steady flow of legislative accomplishments. In fact, LobbyBlog has previously posted about the need to re-write one’s lobbying playbook under the Trump Administration. Some evidence, does point in this direction. As previously reported, “the lobbying industry has recorded its highest earnings in the first quarter for the past five years as many companies have invested heavily in lobbying activities aimed at the new administration and the Republican controlled congress.” However, per a new report in Roll Call, “clients have been hiring lobbyists at a reduced rate compared to 2009.”

According to the report, “Lobbyists and organizations that employ them filed 1,578 disclosure forms to indicate new client relationships beginning between January and April of this year. That’s only slightly higher than the number of clients in the same time period in 2015 — after the 2014 midterm elections — and 2013 — after Obama’s re-election victory. In both those years, the president’s party did not have a majority in both chambers of Congress. The last time one party controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House, the number of new clients was noticeably higher. Lobbyists took on 3,433 clients in 2009 in the months after Obama won his first presidential election — more than double the amount after President Donald Trump won.”

Not only has the rate of companies looking to hire lobbyists reduced when compared to 2009, “From January to March, the number of registered lobbyists dropped 10.3 percent compared to 2016’s first quarter, with only 9,175 official lobbyists on record. That number has been declining in recent years, but this is the biggest drop since lobbying reports started being reported quarterly,” according to Center for Responsive Politics report.

The Administration vs. OGE

May 24th, 2017 by Matthew Barnes

While on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump had quite the negative view of the lobbying industry. As early as in his announcement of his presidential bid, President Trump targeted the industry saying, “They [Politicians] will never make America great again. They don’t even have a chance. They’re controlled fully — they’re controlled fully by the lobbyists, by the donors, and by the special interests, fully. Yes, they control them.” After winning the election, President Trump had his transition team sign a code of ethical conduct, which included terms such as “During my service with the PETT, I will not, on behalf of any person or entity, engage in regulated lobbying activities, as defined by the Lobbying Disclosure Act, with or before any federal department or agency with respect to a particular matter for which I have direct and substantial responsibility as part of the PETT.” Then, once in office, President Trump issued an Executive Order, which included terms like “I will not for a period of 2 years from the date of my appointment participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to my former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts.” Nevertheless, his administration has come into conflict with it’s own Office of Government Ethics (OGE) over the issue of lobbying.

Per the New York Times, “The Trump administration, in a significant escalation of its clash with the government’s top ethics watchdog, has moved to block an effort to disclose the names of former lobbyists who have been granted waivers to work in the White House or federal agencies.” In response to the OGE’s request from every federal agency to provide copies of the waivers it had granted lobbyists, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney sent a letter to OGE Director Shaub questioning the legal authority of the request.

Director Shaub, who was appointed by President Barrack Obama, responded to Director Mulvaney in a “scalding, 10-page response to the White House late Monday, unlike just about any correspondence in the history of the office, created after the Nixon Watergate scandal,” reports the New York Times.  In the letter, Director Shaub writes, “OGE declines your request to suspend its ethics inquiry and reiterates its expectation that agencies will fully comply with its directive by June 1, 2017.”

The New York Times reports that, “Ethics watchdogs, as well as Democrats in Congress, have expressed concern at the number of former lobbyists taking high-ranking political jobs in the Trump administration. In many cases, they appear to be working on the exact topics they had previously handled on behalf of private-sector clients — including oil and gas companies and Wall Street banks — as recently as January.”

LobbyBlog will continue to monitor the latest developments of this story.

Lobby Groups Optimistic Over Healthcare Bill Changes in Senate

May 19th, 2017 by Matthew Barnes

After the House of Representatives passed H.R.1628 – American Health Care Act of 2017 to repeal and replace Obamacare, the bill was sent to the Senate, where many groups are hoping for major changes to the legislation. The Hill reports that, “industry groups felt largely cut out of the House’s drafting and passage of the American Health Care Act and now are clamoring for action to fix what they view as serious defects in the legislation.  Major hospital and doctor associations, for example, want people with health insurance to stay covered and are pushing to ensure adequate funding for the Medicaid program. Characterizing this wish list, one healthcare lobbyist put it simply: “Coverage, coverage, coverage.”

Groups wishing for major changes to the House bill are optimistic as Republican senators quickly suggested changes would be required. “We’re writing a Senate bill and not passing the House bill,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) in a Politico report. “We’ll take whatever good ideas we find there that meet our goals… There will be no artificial deadlines in the Senate. We’ll move with a sense of urgency but we won’t stop until we think we have it right.” said Alexander, who will be a leading figure in the Senate’s overhaul effort.”

Major outside influences such as the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, and AARP have all been critical of the House bill. AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond, wrote in a letter sent to every Senator earlier this week that, “The deeply flawed House bill would add an Age Tax, increasing health care costs by thousands of dollars each year we grow older, and put millions of American families at risk of finding health care unaffordable or unavailable…AARP urges you to ‘start from scratch’ and craft health care legislation that ensures robust insurance market protections, controls costs, improves quality, and provides affordable coverage to all Americans.”

Questions Swirl Over Transition Lobbyists

May 4th, 2017 by Matthew Barnes

Following his electoral victory in November, President Donald Trump issued a set of lobbying rules for those coming to work on his transition and for his administration. According to the President-Elect’s Transition Team (PETT) Code of Ethical Conduct, transition team members agreed “For 6 months after I leave, I will not on behalf of any other person or entity, engage in regulated lobbying activities, as defined by the Lobbying Disclosure Act, with respect to a particular matter for which I had direct and substantial responsibility during my service with PETT.” However, a recent Politico report has found at least nine members of the transition team, who have now registered as lobbyists.

According to the report, “Many are registered to lobby the same agencies or on the same issues they worked on during the transition, a POLITICO review of lobbying disclosures found. A former “sherpa” who helped to guide Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos through the Senate confirmation process is now registered to lobby her department. The former head of the transition’s tax policy team has returned to his old company to lobby Congress on tax reform. One ex-member of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative team is now registered as part of a team lobbying on behalf of a major steelmaker.”

However, the White House has responded to the claim saying, “We have no reason to believe nor has the Transition been presented with any evidence that any individual who signed the six-month agreement as part of his or her service with the Transition is in non-compliance,” Ken Nahigian, the transition’s executive director, said in a statement, adding that the transition is “open to receiving” any evidence that does exist.