AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Case Study

Democracy Forward Foundation v. Department of Transportation

Challenging the Trump Administration’s Use of Financially-Conflicted Private Advisors

President Trump and the Department of Transportation have made unprecedented use of so-called “informal advisors” to inform and conduct policymaking out of public view, bypassing both Senate-confirmed Cabinet secretaries and federal ethics regulations intended to prevent conflicts-of-interest and corruption.

These informal advisors reportedly have a significant financial interest in many of the issues on which President Trump has empowered them to direct federal policy.  For example, Richard LeFrak and Steven Roth oversee spending on and the development of the Administration’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan despite the fact that both LeFrak and Roth have significant financial interests in infrastructure policy.

To uncover the role financially-conflicted informal advisors have played in Administration policy decisions, Democracy Forward filed suit in federal court demanding the release of records.


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