With President-elect Donald Trump’s White House transition efforts under fire from multiple media outlets in recent days, chairman and Vice President-elect Mike Pence purged all lobbyists from the team on Tuesday, according to an internal source.
Pence takes over transition leadership duties from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and has since fired all of the former chairman’s recruits, including ex-Congressman Mike Rogers and business consulting firm CEO Matthew Freedman, both of whom were advising on national security matters.
The pair was replaced by former Reagan administration official and current president and founder of a controversial Washington-based national security think tank, Frank Gaffney, as well as Republican congressmen Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Devin Nunes (Calif.).
According to an Obama White House spokesperson, Trump’s team is required to submit “names of individuals they have authorized to represent the transition effort across the government,” and sign forms swearing to abide by a code of conduct that bans people who have conflicts of interest.
Already, more than 12 top Trump campaign donors have been named to the inauguration planning committee, including real estate investor Thomas Barrack Jr., who will chair the effort, and Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, serving as vice chair.
In related news, Trump transition team spokesman Sean Spicer announced Wednesday that no registered lobbyists will be allowed to serve in the administration. Trump will also impose a moratorium on all cabinet and staff members, prohibiting them from becoming lobbyists after they leave the White House.
“It goes back to Trump’s goal to make sure people aren’t using government to enrich themselves,” 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 for a five-year period.”
Spicer went on to explain that if a potential White House staff member is registered with a state or federal lobbying firm, he or she will be required to submit documentation proving they are no longer employed by a related company.
Current ethics rules prohibit former White House members from becoming lobbyists within two years, known as a “cooling-off period”, while congresspeople are temporarily banned from lobbying efforts for only one year after leaving their elected position on Capitol Hill.
[Wall Street Journal] [Washington Post] [Photo courtesy Politico]