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The GOP Is Raking in Millions From Lobbyists Tied to Trump

Lobbying firms closely connected to Trump are contributing millions to support his reelection and the Republican party.

President Trump speaks at the Republican National Committee winter meeting at the Trump International Hotel on February 1, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

The Republican National Committee and its joint fundraising committee with President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign accepted more than $4.4 million from lobbyist fundraisers in 2019, according to OpenSecrets analysis of FEC disclosures.

Most of the lobbyists raising money for the RNC and joint fundraising committee are from Trump-connected lobbying firms that brought in record revenues in 2019. Some of the biggest fundraisers hail from high-profile lobbying firms such as Ballard Partners and Turnberry Solutions.

By fundraising and collecting political contributions from other donors, these so-called “bundlers” can deliver more money in one large “bundle” than federal campaign finance law caps on contributions from just one individual might otherwise allow.

Trump Victory, Trump’s big-dollar joint fundraising committee with the Republican Party, reported raking in more than $3.9 million from bundlers in 2019. Lobbyist bundlers raised another $455,000 directly for the RNC on top of tens of millions transferred from Trump Victory.

The top lobbyist bundling money for Trump’s joint fundraising committee and the RNC is Jeff Miller, who raised more than $1.7 million for the operations.

After serving as vice chair of Trump’s inaugural committee, Miller founded a lobbying firm called Miller Strategies days after Trump’s 2017 inauguration.

The firm’s earnings surged from roughly $2 million during Trump’s first year in the White House to $8.1 million last year.

Miller’s firm is staffed with multiple former White House aides and its client list includes Amazon, Apple , Pfizer, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and General Electric among many others.

Another top lobbyist fundraiser for Trump’s joint fundraising committee is Brian Ballard, who made bundled contributions of $835,000 for the operations.

Ballard has rapidly built up a client base of over 100 companies, foreign actors and other special interests. After establishing himself as a top political fundraiser for the Trump campaign as chair of Trump Victory and a high-dollar bundler in 2016, Ballard served as a member of Trump’s transition team and vice chair of Trump’s inaugural committee.

Once Trump took office, Ballard’s federal lobbying business took off as he assembled a team of operatives with deep Trump ties.

Leveraging these ties to quickly build Ballard Partners into a powerhouse lobbying firm, Ballard joined forces with fellow Trump transition team members Dan McFaul and Pam Bondi.

Ballard obtained more than 100 foreign and domestic clients since Trump’s election, with his firm taking in more than $46 million from 2017 through the end of 2019.

His firm’s big lobbying clients have included British American Tobacco, private prison company GEO Group, General Motors and Amazon.

Ballard has been a foreign agent of Turkey, Qatar, the Dominican Republic, Zimbabwe and other foreign governments seeking to influence U.S. policy or public opinion.

Another top lobbyist bundler is Jason Osborne, who raised $720,000 for Trump’s joint fundraising committee and the RNC. After working for Trump’s 2016 campaign, Osborne and fellow Trump aide Mike Rubino co-founded Turnberry Solutions, a firm shares a name with the Trump Turnberry golf resort in Scotland.

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski joined Turnberry Solutions in 2018 and former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke became the first Trump administration cabinet member to join a lobbying firm after leaving the administration in 2019.

Osbourne’s clients have ranged from the Mariana Islands to Deutsche Telekom and the Center for Sportfishing Policy.

Other lobbyist bundlers for Trump and the RNC include Brad Bailey of S & B Engineers and Construction with $385,600, and $326,800 from Kent Hance, whose lobbying clients have included the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America General Motors.

Also on the list of lobbyist bundlers is Chartwell Strategy Group’s David Tamasi. Tamasi, who is the D.C. chairman of Trump Victory, has raised nearly $300,000 for the joint fundraising committee and the RNC. Tamasi is also a registered foreign agent for Georgia and Kosovo.

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