President Trump has pledged not to tolerate lobbyists in his Cabinet and even signed an executive order barring administration officials from lobbying on behalf of corporations and foreign governments.
One might expect a similar commitment from his campaign aides, but Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski now hopes to run a thriving business while lobbying his former employer on behalf of foreign clients. Nevertheless, when he left the campaign, Lewandowski vowed to stay away from such endeavors.
Lewandowski’s Firm Now Open for Business to Foreign Governments
According to Politico, the former Trump aide and his partner Bill Bennett opened a lobbying firm in Washington during Trump transition and are eagerly waiting to offer their services to foreign governments. Lewandowski, who was the New York billionaire’s first campaign manager, boasted his new firm – Avenue Strategies – was Trump’s “K Street Office,” before the billionaire was sworn in in January.
Trump’s K Street Office Is Open for Business https://t.co/XRvlk7M2Ae
— Corey R. Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) January 19, 2017
At the time Bennet said, he was not planning to compete against the guys lobbying Congress.
We’re here to lobby the administration,
he added a few days after the new firm was open for business.
Bennet said the small lobbying shop was committed to advancing Trump’s policies. So, Trump’s opponents are not welcome. At the time, Lewandowski’s business partner disclosed the firm would represent any kind of client except for foreign governments.
However, as the Trump-Russia collusion scandal is gaining proportions, Washington lobbyists do not shy away from lobbying the new Cabinet on behalf of foreign governments.
Recently, Bennet said the firm had clients from Kosovo and Albania.
It’s a big market, that’s for sure,
he said in a recent interview with Politico.
‘Drain the Swamp’ Not a Real Priority for Trump
However, even though the president had pledged to drain the swamp of corruption in Washington, his former campaign aide is selling his connections to him to foreign clients. Shortly after the election, Lewandowski said that the “drain the swamp” pledge is “somewhere down at the bottom” of the list with the campaign pledges Trump plans to fulfill.
He also said that there was a “number of players” who were eyeing a Cabinet position, so, his firm planned to guide businesses to the “right person” for the job. In the meantime, Lewandowski’s company arranged a meeting between telecom tycoon Carlos Slim and Trump.
In March, Lewandowski, who lost his job at Trump campaign after the GOP primaries, claimed that he had access to his former boss’ Twitter account. Experts, however, believe Lewandowski’s firm is just another upstart trying to compete against Washington’s lobbying giants that have helped foreign governments with their lobbying efforts for years.
Other former Trump campaign aides that are looking to do business with international actors are his old deputy communications director Bryan Lanza, senior campaign adviser Mike Biundo, and Brad Gerstman whose employer was behind Trump’s campaign announcement in 2015. In a recent statement, Gerstman said his firm was discussing with “a whole bunch of these foreign nations.”
However, the most successful upstart linked to Trump that does business with foreign entities is the semi-anonymous SPG. The firm which has so far hired three ex-campaign aides said it has clients from New Zealand and it is in talks with 14 other nations.
Image Source: CNBC