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Government Ethics

K Street profiting from the Trump revolving door

Lobbying firms linked to the Trump administration have made plenty of rain this year.

This seems no more true than with the firm created by Trump campaign fundraiser Brian Ballard after the 2016 election. Ballard Partners reported $4.2 million in revenue between January and March from a roster of clients recently expanded to include General Motors and Boeing and also featuring GEO Group, a private prison contractor hoping to benefit from an illegal immigration crackdown at the southern border.

The firm brought in $10 million in its first year and $18 million last year thanks to several "revolving door" moves. Faces at the firm now include Raj Shah, previously White House deputy press secretary, and Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general and Trump transition team member.

A Center for Responsive Politics survey of how K Street has been absorbing former Trump administration officials also found:

  • Turnberry Solutions employs former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Jason Osborne, who was a senior Trump campaign advisor.
  • Avenue Strategies has original campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and was co-founded by senior campaign advisor Barry Bennett.
  • Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck's D.C. office is run by Marc Lampkin, a major 2016 campaign fundraiser.
  • Holland & Knight has Scott Mason, who ran congressional relations for the campaign, and Lauren Maddox, a member of the Trump transition team.
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RepresentUs acquired 8,000 signatures on a petition asking Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to keep working on a "revolving door" bill. Paula Barkan, Austin chapter leader of RepresentUs, handed the petition to Brandon Simon, Cruz's Central Texas regional director, on July 31.

Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez still discussing revolving door bill

Remember that tweet exchange in May between Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the one where they discussed bipartisan legislation to ban former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists?

To recap: Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support for legislation banning the practice in light of a report by the watchdog group Public Citizen, which found that nearly 60 percent of lawmakers who recently left Congress had found jobs with lobbying firms. Cruz tweeted back, extending an invitation to work on such a bill. Ocasio-Cortez responded, "Let's make a deal."

The news cycle being what it is, it's easy to forget how the media jumped on the idea of the Texas Republican and the New York Democrat finding common ground on a government ethics proposal. Since then, we've collectively moved on — but not everyone forgot.

The government reform group RepresentUs recently drafted a petition asking Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez to follow through on their idea, gathering more than 8,000 signatures.

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Adults of all ages agree: There's little confidence in elected leaders

But in general, young adults have a lot more trust issues than their elders

Sixty percent of young adults in the United States believe other people "can't be trusted," according to a recent Pew Research survey, which found that younger Americans were far more likely than older adults to distrust both institutions and other people. But adults of all ages did agree on one thing: They all lack confidence in elected leaders.

While united in a lack of confidence, the cohorts disagreed on whether that's a major problem. The study found that young adults (ages 18-29) were less likely than older Americans to believe that poor confidence in the federal government, the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together, and the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups were "very big problems."

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