Hillary Clinton unveiled the leadership of her transition team — the folks who will form her administration should she win the November election. In a surprise to nobody except for those who actually believe her rhetoric, Clinton's transition will be headed by a revolving-door partner at a K Street lobbying shop and populated with other influence-peddlers.
Hillary's transition team reflects the rest of her inner circle, which is heavy on corporate connections and cashing out, presaging four years of corporatist governance.
Ken Salazar will be the chairman of Clinton's transition team. "[P]reviously both a secretary of the interior and a Colorado senator," Reuters describes Salazar, omitting his current job: partner at the lobbying firm WilmerHale.
Salazar left the Interior Department early in Obama's second term, in April 2013, and less than two months later, he joined WilmerHale as a partner. "As an Interior Secretary, US Senator and State Attorney General, Ken adds to the firm's rich tradition of lawyers who have served at the highest levels of government, and will fit seamlessly into WilmerHale," the firm said in an announcement at the time.
Salazar's job was to put his public service connections and experience to work for the firm's clients. As the firm put it, to "provide legal, strategic and policy advice to national and international clients, particularly on matters at the intersection of law, business and public policy..."
Salazar isn't officially a lobbyist, but the Denver office which he founded does lobby the federal government. In fact, Salazar's Denver office lobbies the Interior Department Salazar used to run. (As an example of why this matters, the deputy secretary of the Interior is Mike Connor, a former underling of Salazar's.)
A few months later, WilmerHale began registering Indian tribes as clients, and lobbying Interior on their behalf, regarding water usage and other issues. Salazar, according to the firm's website, "leads the firm's efforts on tribal issues." A handful of lobbyists now work in the Denver office Salazar founded.
Tom Donilon is a co-chair of Clinton's transition team. Donilon was a lobbyist for Fannie Mae from 1999 to 2005, when the government-created mortgage-subsidizer was lobbying fiercely against any regulation or oversight, in part by promising it posed no risk to taxpayers. A few years later, Fannie Mae failed and taxpayers bailed it out.
In addition to his partner income from O'Melveny & Myers, Donilon (until his appointment to the Obama administration) earned legal fees from Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, United Health Group, and Verizon, among others, according to his financial disclosure forms.
Also on the transition team: former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Granholm's most recent gig was two years running Hillary's super PAC, which meant hustling for million-dollar checks from finance billionaires like George Soros, Donald Sussman, James Simons, Bernard Schwartz and plenty of others.
Who assembled this transition team? Revolving-door pioneer and lobbying-firm co-founder John Podesta.
John and his brother Tony were Democratic congressional staffers in the 1980s, and in 1988 they cashed out and launched their own lobbying firm. John Podesta passed back through the revolving door in 1993 to join the Clinton administration. Brother Tony kept the family firm going strong, and John rejoined the firm (part-time) as a lobbyist in 2002.
None of this is surprising. Glance at the Revolving Door database kept by the Center for Responsive Politics, and you see that Clinton — by a mile — has the most former staffers in the database of any former lawmaker. Her campaign is heavily funded by K Street as well.
Clinton talks about going after the rich and the special interests. If you can judge a candidate by the cast with which she surrounds herself, then her transition team suggests that a Clinton administration would be a Golden Era for K Street.
Timothy P. Carney, the Washington Examiner's senior political columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com. His column appears Tuesday and Thursday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.