Although one of Donald Trump's key promises in "draining the swamp" was to bar those who worked on his presidential transition from lobbying for six months, Politico found nine people on his team who registered as lobbyists within the first three months of the president entering the White House.
Many of those are even registered to lobby the same agencies or the same issues on which they worked during the transition, with one such example being the former head of the transition's tax policy team returning to his old company to lobby Congress on tax reform.
"This is more evidence of the ethical vacuum in the Trump White House," said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a nonprofit government ethics watchdog. "These revolving-door-esque actions mock everything candidate Trump said about draining the swamp and ending corporate corruption and inside dealing in Washington, D.C."
"We have no reason to believe nor has the ted the six-month agreement as part of his or her service with the transition is in non-compliance," the transition's executive director Ken Nahigian said.
According to Politico, the ban forbade staffers from lobbying on issues for which they had "direct and substantial responsibility" during the transition, which some say could be interpreted in different ways.
But, as New York Magazine pointed out, it "is obviously a violation of the spirit of the ban. Exploiting a loophole in its language does little to alleviate the concerns that caused the Trump team to put it in place in the first place."
This is especially so since at the time of announcing the ban, now White House press secretary Sean Spicer said, "The key thing for this administration is going to be that people going out of government won't be able to use that service to enrich themselves."
Politico reported the example of transition staffers already doing lobbying work also raises questions about how serious the enforcement will be of a separate five-year lobbying ban for those serving in the administration.
The report comes on the heels of a recent USA Today study which found that former campaign aides, fundraisers and others with connections to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have brought in more than $2.2 million in fees by attracting dozens of new lobbying clients in Washington.
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