New Resource Exposes ‘Corporate Chieftains’ Filling Trump Cabinet … – Common Dreams (press release)
For those who want to keep tabs on the corporate influences President-elect Donald Trump’s uber-wealthy and “horrifying” cabinet picks will be bringing with them, advocacy organization Public Citizen just unveiled a new resource.
Trump, whose own conflicts of interest continue to mount, “ran against corruption, cronyism, and insider dealmaking,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, on Friday. Yet, he “is handing control of the government over to corporate chieftains.”
The new site, CorporateCabinet.org, so far profiles 14 picks including Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, Steven Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary, Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary, and well as Vice President-elect Mike Pence. It is slated to be updated as further top officials become known.
“Many of the nominees have connections with corporations whose profit-driven interests are directly at odds with the federal agencies Trump has selected them to lead,” a press statement announcing the resource states.
The site shows, for example, that “austerity-favoring” former Indiana Gov. Pence has corporate connections to Koch industries, principally owned by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.
David Koch, according to the site, citing research from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, “has donated $300,000 to Pence’s campaigns.” Further, “Pence has received more than $1.5 million from the finance sector, more than $1 million from the construction industry, $793,750 from the pharmaceutical industry, and $685,283 from the chemical industry.”
Tillerson, though he just stepped down from his position as CEO of ExxonMobil, has had the oil giant running “through his veins” for years. In addition, he is a former chairman of fossil fuel industry group the American Petroleum Institute.
CorporateCabinet.org ties Mnuchin, who “was steeped in the investment banking industry long before it became a poster child for economy-wrecking, foreclosure-inducing Wall Street greed,” to CIT Group, which merged with the notorious OneWest Bank. OneWest engaged in widespread misconduct under Mnuchin’s leadership. He just resigned from his position as board member of CIT.
DeVos, for her part, counts on connections with Amway, a global company seen by some as a pyramid scheme. But, pointing to a corporate agenda, her “greatest personal focus has been on education, such as seeking to expand charter schools, permit parents to use public funds as vouchers toward private school tuition, and advocating related proposals to steer funding away from traditional public schools,” the resource states.
“Trump’s corporate Cabinet nominees have staggering conflicts of interest, and if confirmed will drive forward policies to advance the interests of Big Business, not the American people,” Weissman added. “We’re facing the prospect of a government literally of the Exxons, by the Goldman Sachses, and for the Kochs.”