Trump's 100 Days: Trump promised to "drain the swamp." Here's where that promise stands.

Source: AP
Source: AP

Donald Trump was not the first politician to promise that, if elected, he would "drain the swamp" in Washington, D.C. 

That colloquialism, a campaign promise to cut lobbyists and special interests out of Washington dealmaking, was used by Ronald Reagan in 1983 and in 2006 by former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi said she wanted to "drain the swamp" of Republican control in her bid to take the House of Representatives. She promised to "break the links between lobbyists and legislation" in her first 100 hours.

A decade ago, Pelosi failed to cut lobbyists out of Washington after she took power. One hundred days into his term, Trump looks to be heading down that same path.

The president's lobbying ban

Trump with an executive order limiting lobbyists.
Source: 
Pool/Getty Images

One of Trump's first executive orders kept a campaign promise of preventing former members of his administration from lobbying. Trump's ban instated a lifetime ban on foreign lobbying and a five-year ban for all other lobbying. The ban only applies to members of his administration. 

But the order was full of loopholes. It said officials could not lobby the area of government in which they worked for five years, but were free to lobby elsewhere. Trump also revoked an Obama-era rule that said people could not join the administration if they had been a lobbyist in the previous year. Now, anyone can join Trump's administration as long as they do not work in the area where they lobbied for at least two years. 

Less than 100 days into his presidency, Trump has already granted a waiver to the lobbying ban. The president will allow a former top adviser in his Office of Management and Budget to lobby White House budget officials in six months — far shorter than the order's five-year stipulation. 

Lobbyists in key positions across Washington

The New York Times and ProPublica have found that federal agencies are flooded with former lobbyists and consultants who now make policy that affects industries where they used to work. The appointments may be violating Trump's own ethics rules, which he has already relaxed from Obama's days. 

This comes as Trump officials, spread out across the government in January, are given permanent positions. Those 400 individuals were hired to oversee the government's transition in Trump's first year. Now, some of those individuals are now full-time employees — including former lobbyists that used to influence the agencies where they now work.

Trump's inaugural payday

The president told voters he could not be bought, but American billionaires and corporations tried anyway. The group coordinating the president's inauguration raised nearly $107 million to fund an inauguration that was substantially smaller than Obama's first inauguration. That money came largely from billionaires and corporate special interests, donating millions or hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover the inauguration's cost.

Donald Trump's inauguration
Source: 
Pool/Getty Images

And the payday extends beyond the inauguration. People who supported Trump and Vice President Mike Pence during the campaign are also winning financially. USA Today found former aides and fundraisers for Trump and Pence have hauled in $2.2 million in lobbying fees over the administration's first few months.

The White House also decided to stop releasing the logs of who visited the West Wing, making it difficult to know which lobbyists have the ear of the president. 

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Will Drabold

Will Drabold is a policy writer at Mic. He writes Navigating Trump's America, Mic's daily read on Donald Trump's America. He is based in Washington, D.C., and can be reached at wdrabold@mic.com

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