In President Donald Trump’s administration, there is only one qualification needed for a cabinet position; money.
According to CNN, in a bombshell report they received through the Freedom of Information Act, Trump’s transition team raised more than $6.5 million, with a vast majority of that money coming after the election. Presidential transition teams are financed in part by private fundraising and in part by federal funds.
In a brazen display of pay-for-play corruption, the largest and most consistent donations came from people who Trump would end up appointing to top cabinet positions (or their families).
World Wrestling Entertainment’s Linda McMahon, who is now chief of the Small Business Administration, was one of Trump’s earliest donors. She donated the maximum amount of $5,000 in July.
Others such as Wilbur Ross, who is expected to be the new commerce secretary, and the new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, both maxed out on donations prior to the election.
Other nominees maxed out once Trump had secured the presidency.
The report from CNN also comes on the heels of the announcement that the Department of Justice was rescinding an Obama-era plan to end federal use of for-profit prisons. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has numerous ties to the private prison system, made the announcement Thursday afternoon.
The CEO Group, one of the largest private prison firms in the US, donated $125,000 to Trump’s campaign through a Super-PAC and now will reap the benefits of paying to play.
However, it is not just cabinet positions for sale by the Trump White House. Donations rolled in after the election from special interest groups such as American Coalition Clean Coal Electricity, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors and Independent Community Bankers of America, and more. All of which have or will benefit from Trump’s economic plan to deregulate industries across the nation.
When Trump took to the campaign trail promising to “Make American Great Again,” he never specified that he only meant for those who gave him the most money.
Dan Arel is a bestselling author of The Secular Activist; and Parenting Without God. He is an award-winning journalist and host of the Danthropology Podcast.