The Washington Post, “Is K Street Warming to Trump? Just Barely.,” August 3, 2016
By Catherine Ho
A Republican Party elder; a former House Appropriations chairman; a veteran GOP fundraiser and top partner at a D.C. lobby firm.
Those are among the lobbyists — part of the very Washington establishment that Donald Trump regularly rails against — who have opened up their checkbooks and fundraising networks in support of the Republican presidential candidate.
Between January and June, 15 lobbyists contributed about $34,000 to Trump’s campaign and the Trump Victory Fund, a sharp increase from the three lobbyists who collectively chipped in less than $1,000 during the previous six months, according to lobbying disclosure forms. At least two of the lobbyists are actively fundraising on Trump’s behalf.
That’s a far cry from the millions of dollars that hundreds of lobbyists have raised and contributed to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, but is notable because much of K Street and the corporate interests it represents have been slow to embrace the controversial GOP nominee. And he has been slow to embrace them.
“One is running as an outsider, which is Trump. It’s only natural there would be less institutional or less Washington support,” said David Tamasi, a GOP lobbyist who in June became finance chair for the Trump Victory Fund, the joint fundraising committee among Trump, the Republican National Committee and 11 state parties. “The other is a much more known quantity in Washington. That correlates to more support.”
Tamasi, a partner at the lobby firm Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, has contributed $10,000 to the victory fund. During the primary, he bundled for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and, later, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. He previously bundled contributions for Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.
“I always intended to bundle for whoever the nominee was going to be,” Tamasi said. “In this case, it’s Trump.”
Trump’s other K Street backers include former Louisiana congressman Bob Livingston, the House Appropriations chairman-turned-lobbyist who endorsed Trump in March; and Rick Hohlt, a prominent Republican lobbyist and longtime Bush adviser. Livingston and Hohlt have each contributed $5,400 to Trump’s campaign.
Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is a longtime lobbyist and political operative.
Livingston did not immediately return a request for comment.
Hohlt, who has been helping raise money for the Trump campaign, initially backed Jeb Bush in the race.
“I think it’s important we support the nominee of the party, and it’s important we bring someone in who will stimulate change in the system versus status quo in the system,” Hohlt said.
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