President Trump closed a door and opened a tollbooth

In response to Trump administration advisers launching the political nonprofit group America First Policies to support President Trump’s policies, Issue One Chief of Policy, Programs and Strategy Meredith McGehee issued the following statement:

“Here’s the problem: It’s a sitting president. He’s in the business of raising money for an outside entity, and it creates a very stark opportunity for access and influence buying.”

This is what I said in 2013 in the Washington Post about Organizing for Action and President Obama. 

The same applies today to President Trump and the America First Policies nonprofit organization. This is as bad a decision now as it was then. President Trump’s closest advisers are starting a group to solicit money from a deep-pocketed group of donors. 

This whiplash-inducing action comes less than 48-hours after the president signed an ethics executive order Saturday to prevent his top administration officials from lobbying the administration once they have left. 

In two days, the president closed one door and opened a tollbooth. AFP provides a clear avenue for buying access and influence. It also looks like Citizen United’s David Bossie, who was behind the Supreme Court challenge to the ban on corporate contributions, will play a key role in the group.  

You can be sure that President Trump and key advisers in his administration will be the first to know who contributes to AFP. Those who give to this organization may well support the president’s policies, but it is also clear AFP will provide another avenue for the well-heeled to purchase goodwill with the administration.