A recent study produced by a new division of a longstanding public advocacy organization shows that nearly 3 of every 5 lawyers working for the Trump administration have backgrounds as corporate lobbyists.
Public Citizen launched the Corporate Presidency Project within less than a month of the 2016 election cycle and has since produced more than 20 articles illustrating the shift in policy at many agencies, most notably at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior.
Their recent study Big Law, Big Conflicts identified 75 of 128 lawyers the group contends spent enough time representing business interests and limiting regulations that the idea of governance in a public’s best interest lies beyond believable.
Alan Zibel acts as the research director for the project and the case in point he shared with KGNU’s Robin Ryan involves David Bernhardt, formerly from the Denver based law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. Bernhardt holds the #2 post at the Department of the Interior, despite his firm’s having sued the agency a number of times.
Brownstein Hyatt enjoys a ranking as the nation’s second largest lobbying firm, a spot they reached in 2015 and have since held, according to data at OpenSecrets. They were paid $28.7 million to lobby Washington in 2017 and have received a cumulative sum of $278 million since the late ‘90’s by Fortune 100 clients that include Amazon.com, FedEx and Comcast. Together, these three companies spent more than $38 million on lobbying last year alone.
Former Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett resigned earlier in 2018 to return to Brownstein Hyatt, where he previously worked prior to public office.