And lobbyists, those notorious swamp creatures, are ready to help him do it.
“Trump has pledged to change things in Washington — about draining the swamp,” former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who now works at the lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs, told The New York Times. “He is going to need some people to help guide him through the swamp ― how do you get in and how you get out? We are prepared to help do that.”
Few people know the swamp better than Lott. He served in Congress from 1989-2007.
The New York Times reports that K Street is thrilled that Trump and Republicans did so well Tuesday, “seeing great opportunity to shape the agenda after an extended period of frustration over gridlock in Congress.”
Lobbyists could hold a significant amount of power in a Trump administration. Trump has no government experience, and since much of the GOP establishment opposed his candidacy, many of his closest advisers are also outsiders who don’t know much about Washington. That leaves a big opening for lobbyists to influence his agenda.
Trump has also proposed term limits for members of Congress as part of his effort to drain the swamp. But as Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who was Hillary Clinton’s running mate, told The Huffington Post, what proposals like that do is make lobbyists more powerful since they know the system better than anyone else:
I interact with a lot of state legislators who are in states where there’s term limits. And here’s what they say to me: “OK, it sounds good, but boy, I tell ya, you do term limits, then the only people who don’t have the terms are the lobbyists.”
And so the permanent institutional expertise class is now no longer the legislators, it’s the lobbyists who don’t have term limits and are there forever.
It sounds good, but I think if you do term limits, you would really increase the power of lobbying. If you want to decrease the power, you can do revolving door stuff or you can do campaign finance reform, which is what we really want to do. And that would be more likely to check lobbyists’ power than term limits.
There are also plenty of lobbyists on Trump’s transition team, according to an organization chart obtained by Politico.