The way the Trump administration is selling access to the incoming cabinet may not be illegal or unprecedented, but this appears to be the best defense you can make of it:
“The way that I think about about is that what is happening right now is that President-elect Trump is pulling back the curtain on what has been going on for a while,” said Meredith McGehee, a government ethics expert and strategic adviser at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. “These are all of the ways we have of raising money. He’s just doing it without shame or compunction.”
It’s not much of a defense, and it becomes a lot more inadequate when you consider that he’s supposed to be “draining the swamp.”
After all, how can Joe Six-Pack compete with this:
The cost of admission for the Cabinet dinner is included in a package for either $100,000 or $250,000 to the presidential inaugural committee, while dinner with Vice President-elect Mike Pence is open to donors and corporate underwriters at the $500,000 and $1 million-level as part of multi-day itineraries, with the level of access determined by the amount of cash given, according to inauguration brochures obtained by POLITICO.
I have a warning for the folks who are thinking of ponying up six-figure checks for the opportunity of attending one of these dinners. Donald Trump is a well-documented ripoff artist.
The invite states that only “select” Cabinet officials will attend, prompting concerns that only a few lower-profile nominees would be on hand. If that happens, “people will be pissed,” the Trump donor said.
If you’re thinking you’ll get to chat up James Mattis about how he got his “Mad Dog’ nickname or talk to Rex Tillerson about what its like to get the Order of Friendship award from Vladimir Putin, you may have to satisfy yourself with talking to Ben Carson about pyramidal grain storage or with Betsy DeVos about the best way to defend elementary schools from grizzly bears.
You may find yourself feeling like one of the folks who ponied up thirty grand for a degree from the unaccredited Trump University.