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The New Yorker Quotes Trevor Potter on Trump's Ethical Conflicts

November 21, 2016, The New Yorker

Questions to Trump’s transition team about its conflict-of-interest rules went unanswered, as did questions to the lobbyists and industry heads involved. But the composition of the group runs counter to a set of anti-lobbyist proposals that Trump released in October, to be enacted in his first hundred days. It called for a five-year ban on White House and congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave public office, and a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying for a foreign government.

The tenth item on the list of proposals is the Clean Up Corruption in Washington Act, which would implement “new ethics reforms to Drain the Swamp and reduce the corrupting influence of special interests on our politics.” Trevor Potter, who served as the commissioner of the F.E.C. under George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and is now the president of the Campaign Legal Center, described Trump’s ethics proposals as “quite interesting, and quite helpful.” He was puzzled, though, by the vagueness of the “Drain the Swamp” act. “It’s a complete black box so far,” Potter said.

Potter wondered if Trump’s lack of specificity reflected internal divisions. He noted that Don McGahn, who served as the Trump campaign’s attorney, is an opponent of almost all campaign-finance restrictions. “Many on the transition team are registered lobbyists who are deeply invested in the system Trump says he wants to change,” Potter said. “It looks like the lobbyists and special interests are already taking over.”

Mr. Potter also leads the Political Law Group at Caplin & Drysdale.

For the full article, please visit The New Yorker’s website.

Excerpt taken from the article “Aftermath: Sixteen Writers on Trump’s America” and the essay “The Dark-Money Cabinet” by Jane Mayer for The New Yorker.

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