1 in 14 Trump appointees is a former lobbyist, four times the rate under Obama

Trump Town is a Propublica/Columbia Journalism Investigations interactive database of everyone working in the Trump administration; the latest revision reveals that Trump has hired 281 former lobbyists to regulate the industries that used to sign their paychecks.

That's one in every 14 political appointments, quadruple the peak rate of lobbyist hiring under Obama, which arrived six years into his presidency.

In many cases, these lobbyists are working directly in senior oversight roles for the industries they once represented: Colin Roskey spent two decades repping the health care industry, and now he's deputy secretary for legislation for mandatory health in Trump's Department of Health and Human Services. His recusals are confidential, but prior to his appointment, he was working for the price-gouging dialysis giant Fresenius Medical Care, which made more than a third of a billion a year from Medicare. That was just one of 27 clients he lobbied for before he entered Trump's HHS.

But don't worry, Roskey's not overseeing the health care industry anymore. He quit government service and was immediately rehired by the health industry
lobbying firm he'd worked for prior to his government service, Lincoln Policy Group.

And while Trump has dismantled the Obama ethics rule that lobbyists from working in government, Obama's former appointees are not shy about taking lobbying work. For example, Bridgett Taylor — who was deputy secretary for legislation for mandatory health in Obama's Department of Health and Human Services — now lobbies for PHRMA, the lobbying arm of the price-gouging, monopolistic, murderous pharmaceutical industry. She, too, works for Lincoln, alongside her Trump-era successor.

Other swamp creatures who've done a turn in the Trump admin only to return to K-Street:

* Laura Kemper, a former lobbyist who joined Trump's HHS, now vice president for government affairs at Fresenius.

* Geoffrey Burr, a former lobbyist who did a spin through Trump's Department of Labor, then as chief of staff to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, now policy director at one of the nation's largest lobbying firms.

* Rebecca Wood, formerly of Trump's FDA, now leader of food and drug practice at Sidley Austin, a powerful law/lobbying firm with business before the FDA.

* Brooke Appleton, once director of public policy for the National Corn Growers Association, then, after a spin in Trump's Ag Department, she's back with the National Corn Growers with a promotion to VP, overseeing a team of six who lobby her former Ag colleagues.

One is Laura Kemper, a former HHS senior official who, within days of leaving her post in March, was hired by Fresenius. Now vice president for government affairs, Kemper heads the company's policy group.

According to lobbying records, she is listed among the in-house lobbyists who have visited Congress, the White House and HHS since March, pushing everything from reimbursement for dialysis services to home dialysis. The records show Fresenius shelled out more than $2.2 million for lobbying activities during the first half of the year.

Kemper had also spent years lobbying Congress and federal agencies on behalf of health care companies before joining HHS in March 2017.

Her pass through the revolving door tests the boundaries of ethics rules. Indeed, Trump's pledge prohibits staffers-turned-registered lobbyists from advocating for the special interests of their corporate bosses before the agencies where they used to work for at least five years. It also restricts former employees from behind-the-scenes lobbying with any senior federal official for the remainder of Trump's presidency. Kemper signed that pledge.

Update: We Found a "Staggering" 281 Lobbyists Who've Worked in the Trump Administration [David Mora/Propublica and Columbia Journalism Investigations]

H. Michael Karshis
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