Former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is opening a political consulting firm alongside former Trump campaign adviser Barry Bennett.
The new firm, called Avenue Strategies, will be located a half-block from the White House. Per its website, it will offer “client-tailored strategy and guidance carefully designed to help our clients navigate our government.” In English, it means the pair can basically lobby without having to register as lobbyists.
The announcement was first reported by the Washington Examiner.
Lewandowski on Monday met with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, to discuss possible jobs inside the incoming administration. But the job he sought ― senior adviser to the president — was not offered to him, according to Politico.
“I will always be President-elect Trump’s biggest supporter,” the longtime aide said in a statement on Tuesday. “After considering multiple opportunities within the administration, I informed him and his team I think I can best help him outside the formal structure of government. I very much look forward to doing that every day.”
The press release and the firm’s website highlight Lewandowski’s and Bennett’s close ties to the president-elect and his team, openly touting access to the White House for those willing to pay. It exemplifies how business in Washington is and has been done for decades ― a system Trump has promised to demolish when he enters the Oval Office.
Even the location of the new firm signifies a closeness to Trump.
The real estate mogul vowed to “drain the swamp” ― a refrain repeated enthusiastically by many supporters at his campaign rallies. Last week, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway clarified that the battle cry applied to consultants, too ― which might prove troublesome for the new firm.
“Draining the swamp is not just about lobbying and politicians, it’s also about consultants,” Conway said during an interview on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” railing against influence-peddlers who she said charge “gross retainers” in exchange for few new ideas.
But that all might change, at least according to Newt Gingrich.
“I’m told he now just disclaims that,” the former House speaker said of the refrain Wednesday on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” “He now says it was cute, but he doesn’t want to use it anymore.”
The president-elect is thinking of dropping the populist rhetoric, apparently, after “somebody wrote back and said they were tired of hearing this stuff.”
That “somebody” could have been anyone, perhaps even one of the numerous Wall Street bankers, businessmen and billionaires Trump has nominated to his Cabinet.
This post has been updated with more details on the location of the firm’s office.