Number Of Trump Campaign Donors On Back-To-Work Council Raises Ethics Alarm: Report
At least 25 members of President Donald Trumpâ€™s new back-to-work council, tasked with reviving the economy amid theÂ COVID-19 pandemic, have made substantial donations to his reelection campaign, raising serious ethical concerns, ABC News reported Friday.
Itâ€™s an example of how â€œwriting big checks to the president and a super PAC means that your voice is heard louder than many others,â€? Brendan Fischer, a federal reforms director at the watchdog group Campaign Legal Center, told ABC.
The concern for the public is that the business leaders who bankroll Trumpâ€™s campaign can press their interests over the health of Americans â€” such as reopening stores, hotels or casinos too early, triggering a new surge of coronavirus infections.
One member of the presidentâ€™s advisory council is longtime Trump supporter and friend Micky Arison, chairman of Carnival, which is incorporated in Panama. The companyâ€™s cruise ships have been virus hot spots, with at least 1,500 infections leading to 39 deaths.Â Carnival has been criticized for continuing to operate after the risk was known. A quick restart of the cruise industry could have catastrophic consequences.
Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and Treasure Island Hotels owner Phil Ruffin are also on the 220-member council and its hospitality industry group. Adelson contributed $5 million to the presidentâ€™s inaugural committee and has given $15 million to Trump-associated super PACs, according to ABC. Ruffin donated close to $1 million to Trump Victory, the presidentâ€™s joint fundraising committee with the Republican National Committee, and another $1 million to Trumpâ€™s inaugural committee, the network reported.Â
Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus â€” who has given $7 million to super PACs supporting Trump â€” is on the councilâ€™s retail group along with Home Depotâ€™s CEO and another co-founder, Ken Langone, ABC reported.
Though several members are not campaign contributors, Trumpâ€™s choices skew heavily to the private sector. The councilâ€™s health care group, for example, is headed by leaders of pharmaceutical companies, which stand to profit from White House decisions.
â€œItâ€™s bizarre to me that thereâ€™s nobody representing public health,â€? Virginia Canter, chief ethics counsel at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told ABC. â€œYou need to have public health professionals, you need somebody who represents the grocery workers, somebody who represents hospitality workers, and so on.â€?
White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere didnâ€™t dispute the information in the ABC report. Trump is â€œbeginning a dialogue with prominent and successful individuals across multiple industries with different backgrounds and skillsets for the monumental task of re-opening the American economy,â€? he said in a statement.Â
Check out the other donors named to Trumpâ€™s council in the ABC report here.A HuffPost Guide To CoronavirusStay up to date with our live blog as we cover the COVID-19 pandemicWhat happens if we end social distancing too soon?What you need to know about face masks right nowHow long are asymptomatic carriers contagious?Lost your job due to coronavirus? Hereâ€™s what you need to know.Everything you need to know about coronavirus and griefThe HuffPost guide to working from homeWhat coronavirus questions are on your mind right now? We want to help you find answers.Everyone deserves accurate information about COVID-19. Support journalism without a paywall â€” and keep it free for everyone â€” byÂ becoming a HuffPost member today.Â Â This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-covid-19-economic-council-campaign-donors_n_5e9a45fac5b63639081eac3b?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000603