Trump’s Cabinet Nominees Campaign Contributions


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January 11, 2017 --
This week, the U.S. Senate begins holding confirmation hearings on President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees. Below is a snapshot of the political contributions made by or to those appointees.

For nominees who have run for federal office, MapLight has looked at the top donors to their campaigns. For other appointees, MapLight has analyzed their contributions to political committees -- campaigns, parties, PACs, and super PACs.

This post will be updated as hearings are scheduled.


Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama)

U.S. Attorney General nominee
Confirmation hearing: Jan. 10 before the Senate Judiciary Committee
Sessions has been in the U.S. Senate since 1997.
Here are the top donors to Sessions’ most recent Senate campaign in 2014, including corporate PACs and executives of those companies.

ExxonMobil

$12,500

Drummond Company

$12,100

Lockheed Martin

$11,000

HealthSouth

$10,700

Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, a super PAC, spent $13,500 to support Sessions’ campaign.
 

Gen. John Kelly (Ret.)
Homeland Security secretary
Confirmed: Jan. 20
No known campaign contributions
 

Elaine Chao
Transportation secretary nominee
Confirmation hearing: Jan. 11 before the Senate Commerce Committee
Chao, the wife of Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), served as Labor Secretary under President George W. Bush.

Here are the top recipients of Chao’s contributions since 1999:

Republican Party of Kentucky

$55,000

Republican National Committee

$50,000

1999 State Victory Fund Committee

(Joint fundraising committee associated with George W. Bush)

$20,000

Chao has also given $11,000 total to support her husband’s Senate campaigns (1996, 2002, and 2014).
 

Rex Tillerson
Secretary of State nominee
Confirmation hearing: Jan. 11 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, retired from the oil giant at the end of 2016.

Here are the top recipients of Tillerson’s contributions since 1999:

National Republican Senatorial Committee

$159,100

Republican National Committee

$80,920

ExxonMobil PAC

$55,000

Romney Victory Inc

(Joint fundraising committee associated with Mitt Romney)

$50,000

National Republican Congressional Committee

$44,750

During the 2016 election cycle, Tillerson gave $35,000 to the Republican National Committee, $33,400 to the NRSC, and $5,000 to the NRCC.

Here are the top recipients of the ExxonMobil PAC contributions 2007-2016:

Joe Barton (Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee 2004-2007)

$49,999

Fred Upton (Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee 2011-2017)

$40,000

John Shimkus (current chair of the House Energy Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy)

$39,000

Pete Sessions (current chair of the House Rules Committee)

$38,500

ExxonMobil has reported spending $8.8 million to lobby the federal government in 2016. Since 2008, the company has spent over $140 million.
 

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas)
CIA director nominee
Confirmation hearing: Jan. 12 before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Pompeo was first elected to Congress in 2012.
Top donors to Pompeo’s most recent campaign in 2016, including corporate PACs and employees of those firms:

Koch Industries

$51,500

General Mills

$15,200

Cox Enterprises

$11,000

Spirit AeroSystems

$10,700


Dr. Ben Carson

Housing secretary nominee
Confirmation hearing: Jan. 12 before the the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee
Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, was a 2016 Republican presidential candidate.

Individual donors contributed nearly all of the money Carson raised for his presidential campaign. Of those people, 42 percent gave $200 or more.

The following outside groups were the top spenders on ads, mailers, and other communications to support Carson’s campaign:

The 2016 Committee

(Super PAC)

$6,593,841

Our Children’s Future

(Super PAC)

$88,125

Extraordinary America

(Other independent expenditure organization)

$54,675


Gen. James Mattis (Ret.)

Defense secretary
Confirmed: Jan. 20
Mattis retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2013, after a 41-year career.
No known campaign contributions.
 

Betsy DeVos
Education Secretary nominee
Confirmation hearing: Jan. 17 before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
DeVos is a charter school advocate and co-owner, along with her husband, Richard, of the Windquest Group, a private equity firm. Previously, Richard DeVos was president of Amway, the company his father co-founded.

Here are the top recipients of Betsy DeVos’s contributions since the 1990 election cycle:

Republican National Committee

$192,800

New Republican.org

(Super PAC)

$110,000

Michigan Republican Party

$101,200

Senate Leadership Fund

(Super PAC)

$100,000

American Crossroads

(Super PAC)

$100,000

National Republican Senatorial Committee

$99,200

Conservative Solutions PAC

(Super PAC)

$50,000

About half of all of Devos’s lifetime contributions were made during the 2016 election cycle.


Wilbur Ross
Commerce secretary nominee
Confirmation hearing: Jan. 18 before the Senate Commerce Committee
Ross, a billionaire, is the founder of the investment firm WL Ross & Co.

Here are the top recipients of Ross’s contributions since the 2012 election cycle:

Trump Victory

(Joint fundraising committee associated with Donald Trump)

$200,000

Republican National Committee

$117,100

Restore Our Future, Inc.

(Super PAC)

$100,000

Romney Victory Inc

(Joint fundraising committee associated with Mitt Romney)

$73,300

Boehner for Speaker

(Joint fundraising committee associated with John Boehner)

$55,000


Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Montana)

Interior secretary nominee
Confirmation hearing: Jan. 17 before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, was first elected to Congress in 2014.

Here are the top donors to Zinke’s 2016 Congressional campaign, including corporate PACs and employees:

The Oasis Petroleum

$15,800

Blessey Marine Services

$15,700

Yellowstone Bank

$13,500

The Eye of the Tiger PAC

$13,000

BNSF Railway

$11,700


Scott Pruitt

Environmental Protection Agency administrator nominee
Confirmation hearing: Jan. 18 before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, is an outspoken critic of the EPA and is currently suing the agency over rules aimed at reducing greenhouse gases.

Here are the top donors to Pruitt’s 2014 Attorney General campaign, using data retrieved from the National Institute of Money in State Politics (NIMSP),  including corporate PACs and employees:

AT&T

$45,400

OG&E

$25,660

Dickstein Shapiro LLP

$20,283

Hall Capital LLC

$15,000

MacFarlane Group

$13,975


Nikki Haley

U.N. Ambassador nominee
Confirmation hearing: Jan. 18 before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Haley, a Republican, is the governor of South Carolina.

Here are the top donors to Haley’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign, using data retrieved from the National Institute of Money in State Politics (NIMSP),  not including individuals:

South Carolina Republican Party

$50,000

USAA

$17,500

Southport Lane

$14,408

Hospital Corp of America

$10,500


Rick Perry
Energy Secretary nominee
Confirmation hearing: Jan. 19 before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Perry, the former governor of Texas, was a Republican presidential candidate in 2012 and 2016.

Here are the top donors to Perry’s 2016 Presidential campaign, including corporate PACs and employees:

MCNA Dental

$60,400

Energy Transfer

$13,500

Woodbridge Structured Funding

$10,800

Texas Tech University System

$9,350


Steven Mnuchin

Treasury Secretary nominee
Confirmation hearing: Jan. 19 before the Senate Committee on Finance
Mnuchin, who was the treasurer for Trump’s presidential campaign, has worked at Goldman Sachs, run a hedge fund, and financed several Hollywood blockbusters, including Avatar.

Here are the top recipients of Mnuchin’s contributions since the 2000 election cycle:

Trump Victory

(Joint fundraising committee associated with Donald Trump)

$425,000

Team Ryan

(Joint fundraising committee associated with Paul Ryan)

$25,000

Romney Victory Inc

(Joint fundraising committee associated with Mitt Romney)

$22,500

Wildes for Congress

$13,400

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

$10,000


Tom Price
Health and Human Services Secretary nominee
Confirmation hearing: Jan. 18 before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Top donors to Price’s most recent campaign in 2016, including corporate PACs and employees of those firms:

Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic

$13,000

UBS

$11,500

Morgan Stanley

$11,000

Aflac

$11,000

Jackson Healthcare

$10,800

The majority of Price’s personal political spending has gone to support his own campaigns for Congress. During the 2004 election cycle, he loaned his campaign $499,000, 19.6% of all the contributions his campaign received, which he repaid during the the following cycle. In the 2006 election cycle, Price loaned his campaign $250,000, repaid in 2008.

Price’s personal financial disclosures have recently been under scrutiny. The filings show that last March he purchased stock in Zimmer Biomet, a leading manufacturer of implants for knee and hip replacements. Shortly afterwards, he introduced the HIP Act, which would have benefitted Zimmet financially by suspending changes to the Medicare payment system for joint replacements. Price’s bill did not pass. He also bought stock in the biotech firm Innate Immunotherapeutics in August, reportedly after learning of the company from Rep. Chris Collins. Price’s latest comprehensive personal financial disclosure, covering 2015, is available here.


About MapLight:

MapLight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that tracks money in politics. More information about MapLight can be found here.

Media Contact:
Alec Saslow
t: (720) 319-4948
e: alec@maplight.org