The weekend in draining the swamp:
Washington Post: "But the ethics experts eyeing Trump’s empire are now warning of many others, found among a vast assortment of foreign business interests never before seen in past presidencies. At least 111 Trump companies have done business in 18 countries and territories across South America, Asia and the Middle East, a Washington Post analysis of Trump financial filings shows."
"Some companies reflect long-established deals while others were launched as recently as Trump’s campaign, including eight that appear tied to a potential hotel project in Saudi Arabia." Here is Trump calling on Clinton to return all foundation money from the country.
CNN: "Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump's preferred choice for National Security Adviser, was running a company that was lobbying on behalf of foreign clients even as he was receiving classified intelligence briefings during the campaign."
Politico: The influence of Rebekah Mercer, billionaire super PAC donor Robert Mercer’s daughter, "in Trump’s transition effort — detailed here for the first time — calls into question Trump’s campaign trail boasts that his own fortune, which he used to partly fund his campaign, would make him independent from deep-pocketed donors and special interests he railed against on the campaign trail."
On the transition landing teams, a few "have been registered lobbyists in the past but aren't anymore."
Washington Post: "In interviews with a dozen diplomats, many of whom declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak about anything related to the next U.S. president, some said spending money at Trump’s hotel is an easy, friendly gesture to the new president." Or, as Matea Gold tweeted, "stay to play?" Will he start holding fundraising events there, will lobby firms and corporate PACs?
Huffington Post: "Exactly a week after winning the presidential election, Donald Trump took time out to meet with Indian business partners and his three eldest children at Trump Tower in Manhattan." New York Times. On CNN yesterday, Reince Priebus defended Trump on his massive conflicts of interest.
He met with Todd Ricketts, who's family gave $1.25M to a pro-Trump super PAC this year. And Betsy DeVos, "one of the biggest supporters of the Republican Party in the nation. The former head of the Michigan GOP is a prolific fundraiser and contributor." He also met with Wilbur Ross, who maxed out to his campaign and hosted a fundraiser for him.
New York Times editorial: "A question hangs over Mr. Trump’s grandiose campaign promise. Is his transition team truly draining the swamp or flagrantly deepening it?"
Just a reminder that we're keeping track of these stories and more on our Trump's Swamp tumblr.
The Nation: Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Pick for Attorney General, Is a Fierce Opponent of Civil Rights
On Jeff Sessions as AG: "Now Sessions will be in charge of enforcing the civil-rights laws he once opposed, like the Voting Rights Act. He’s almost certain to further weaken what’s left of the law and to encourage the kind of bogus prosecutions for voter fraud that led him to be rejected for a federal judgeship." Rick Hasen on his run-in with Sessions.
New York Times: Voting Rights in the Age of Trump
And Ari Berman in the Times: "the attack on voting rights is almost certainly going to get much worse."
The FEC deadlocked on a case against Carolina Rising, "the clearest dark money case they've likely every been handed."
Texas Tribune: In latest voter ID filing, feds argue Texas discriminated on purpose
"Months after a federal appeals court ruled that Texas lawmakers discriminated against African-American and Latino voters in passing a strict voter identification law, the Obama administration and civil rights groups are asking a judge to go a step further — by finding that the lawmakers did it on purpose."
Voice of America explains lobbyists.
OpenSecrets: HHS contenders: A crop of politicians with major funding from health sector
A look at the health industry money behind possible HHS picks.
Center for Public Integrity: Clinton got union money, but Trump won many workers' hearts and minds
"Clinton’s underperformance among union members came despite union bosses spending tens of millions of dollars supporting Clinton’s bid."
Huffington Post: Donald Trump’s Biggest Conflict Of Interest Is A Half Mile From The White House
"Having a U.S. president operating a hotel that advertises his name in giant letters on a government-owned building flies in the face of the federal prohibition of government employees holding government contracts, not to mention long-standing norms for preventing conflicts of interest."
Spokesman Review: With I-735, Washington voters called for campaign reform, but Republicans in Congress unlikely to take action
"Speaking with about as clear a voice as they ever do in Washington, voters last week told their congressional delegation to come up with a constitutional amendment to rein in campaign spending."
Politico: Elizabeth Warren fills the Democratic void
On Warren's fight against Trump, including "First came a detailed 8-page note on Tuesday, addressed to Trump himself, that ripped into him for appointing Wall Street officials and lobbyists to his transition team despite his promises to cleave such insiders’ influence"
McClatchy: Swamp loophole: Isn’t a lobbyist by any other name still a lobbyist?
"But if he only focuses on the narrow definition of 'lobbyist,' he’ll overlook the so-called “shadow lobbyists” who pitch themselves instead as 'consultants' or 'strategic advisers.' Declining to register as lobbyists, they make it difficult for the public to ascertain who is seeking to influence members of Congress and federal agencies."
Desmog Blog: Drain the Swamp? Mike McKenna, Head of Trump Energy Team, Began Lobbying Career with Ethics Scandal
"Mike McKenna, named to head the U.S. Department of Energy transition team for President-Elect Donald Trump, began his lobbying career in the aftermath of an ethics scandal in Virginia."
Morning Call: How much did Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race cost?
The Pennsylvania Senate race "cost more than $164 million, according to the latest data from the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign spending. That sum will grow when final spending reports are filed next month by the candidates and the many outside groups involved."