President Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, is reportedly flaunting the fact that his firm can get clients sit-down meetings with "well-established figures" like Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, Politico reports. An Eastern European politician revealed documents from Washington East West Political Strategies, which Lewandowski co-founded, boasting that the partners could "leverage [their] trusted relations with the U.S. administration" on a client's behalf.
"Whether Corey Lewandowski is just engaging in business as usual or actually going further, it definitely has a pervading swampiness to it that has become the new normal in Trump's Washington," said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of the watchdog group Public Citizen. Trump, notably, has vowed a crackdown on lobbyists.
Barry Bennett, a Republican strategist and co-founder of the firm, argued "90 percent of our business has nothing to do with access. Ninety percent of our business has to do with being a sherpa — who to call, what to do. We don't take people in to see the president or the vice president." Lewandowski is not actually registered as a lobbyist because "he hasn't lobbied," Bennett added.
Politico notes that nevertheless "White House officials worry that Lewandowski's efforts to market his access — which are brazen even by K Street's unbashful standards — are an influence-peddling scandal waiting to happen for a president who pledged to end the dominance of lobbyists and special interests in Washington." Read the full report at Politico.