The administration restocks the swamp

One of Donald Trump’s applause lines during the campaign was his call to “drain the swamp” in Washington, attacking corruption and decreasing the power of special-interest lobbyists.

Draining real-world swamps often isn’t a good idea — it turns out they have a lot of benefits — but draining the political swamp is another matter. This was an idea just about everybody could get behind, even people who otherwise can’t stand Trump.

It’s hard to say whether Trump meant it when he said it. He’s acknowledged saying things he thought would get him elected, such as calling for Hillary Clinton to be “locked up.” But whatever his intentions, in practice he hasn’t drained the swamp at all. Quite the opposite.

At the end of August, ProPublica, a non-parisan independent investigative news website, released a report by Derek Kravitz, Isaac Arnsdorf and Marina Affo identifying numerous industry lobbyists now in government positions that let them continue to protect the interests of the corporations and industries in question, not necessarily to the benefit of the rest of us. I strongly recommend checking it out. In many cases they had to do some serious digging to identify the political appointees in question, which suggests the administration is well aware how bad this looks and would rather the public not know too much about it.

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