Donald Trump suddenly lashed out at the influence of foreign lobbyists on Monday, calling to ban them from donating to U.S. candidates and accusing his rival of being corrupted by foreign interests. “The reason Hillary Clinton pushes for NAFTA, or the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and for completely open borders, is because her international donors control her every move,” Trump said, announcing what he called his ethics reform plan.
But newly filed campaign reports show several donations from foreign lobbyists to his own campaign. They are among a tide of other lobbyists, mainstream special-interest groups and consumer-facing companies that have begun to heavily fund Trump’s political campaign, which was previously fueled by small donors.
The latest quarterly disclosure for the Trump-Republican National Committee joint fundraising committee revealed contributions from other lobbyists as well. Charles Black, a former government official who helped rally support for NAFTA, later became a lobbyist for a number of foreign and domestic clients, and now represents Alphabet, the parent company of Google, recently became a Trump donor. Van Hipp Jr., the owner of American Defense International — a lobbying firm that specializes in representing weapons makers, including L-3 Communications, Northrop Grumman, and drone manufacturer General Atomics — gave $50,000, making him one of Trump’s largest K Street contributors.
Other lobbyists who now count themselves as Trump donors include Tim Costa, Daniel Crowley, Jose Fuentes, Steven Hart, and Kenneth Kies.
The latest filing for the Trump joint fundraising committee also reveals that several mainstream corporate firms are now explicitly supporting the Republican ticket. AFLAC, Reynolds America, Independence Blue Cross, and Continental Resources, the natural gas drilling giant, transferred cash to the Trump Victory using company political action committees. Murray Energy Corporation, the privately held coal mining company, gave $100,000 to Trump Victory, the largest donation from a corporate PAC. As we reported in August, the Geo Group, one of the largest private prison companies in the world, began backing both the Trump campaign and a Trump-supporting Super PAC.
Lobbyists do more than just donate to the Trump campaign. Trump’s transition effort is led by lobbyists, meaning lobbyists would play a role in helping to select the personnel and cabinet members of Trump’s administration, if it comes to that. Richard Hohlt, a lobbyist for Chevron, and pharmaceutical lobbyist Rich Bagger are leading that effort.