News & Politics

Top Trump Official Admits He Sold Access to Lobbyists as a Lawmaker: Report

“If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you," Mick Mulvaney said. "If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

In a speech to the American Bankers Association Tuesday, Director of the White House budget office Mick Mulvaney admitted that he granted special treatment and the possibility of access to lobbyists who funded his campaign when he was a member of Congress, according to a report from the New York Times' Glenn Thrush.

“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” Mulvaney said, according to the report. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”

He also said that he would meet with people from his home district, regardless of whether or not they gave money, which a staffer said was Mulvaney's fundamental point. But of course, meeting with and understanding the needs of constituents is a basic part of a lawmakers' job — selling access to lobbyists is another issue entirely.

In addition to running the White House budget office, Mulvaney also oversees the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is meant to help regulate banks' treatment of its customers and punish the institutions for wrongdoing.

Only meeting with lobbyists when they pay you money is a clear example of the political corruption that is commonplace in American politics. That Mulvaney would engage in this behavior is not particularly surprising, but the fact that he so openly admits to it, in front of an industry group he is supposed to regulate, shows a striking level of disregard for even the appearance of basic propriety. 

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.