Pay to Play: Trump’s Cabinet is His Donors
President Donald Trump’s transition efforts raised more than $6.5 million, according to government filings, with the vast majority of the donations coming after the election — including thousands of dollars from people linked to his future Cabinet.
According to filings with the General Services Administration obtained by CNN through the Freedom of Information Act, Trump’s transition fundraising vehicle, Trump for America Inc., raised $6,513,947.93 through February 14.
Donors included individuals, corporations and advocacy groups. Each entity is by law allowed to donate up to $5,000 maximum to transition efforts, which are financed in part by private fundraising and in part by federal funds.
Trump Cabinet nominees or their families were consistent donors.
His earliest supporter of the Cabinet was Linda McMahon, who is now confirmed as chief of the Small Business Administration. She gave the maximum donation on July 14, before Trump was even formally named the nominee by the Republican National Convention.
McMahon was nominated in December.
Wilbur Ross, expected to be confirmed as commerce secretary, maxed out on October 31. He was formally announced on November 30.
Other nominees waited until after the election.
The DeVos family gave 10 individual $5,000 donations on December 14. Betsy DeVos, now the secretary of education, was announced as the nominee on November 23.
Alan Mnuchin, the brother of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, gave $5,000 on December 9, though Steven Mnuchin did not donate. Exxon Mobil Corporation, the company that was helmed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson before he was confirmed, gave $5,000 December 28 — though Tillerson himself did not donate to the transition.
Tillerson was named December 13 and Mnuchin was named November 30.
Former Labor nominee Andrew Puzder, a fast food executive, gave $5,000 on November 30. He withdrew from consideration this month after a series of controversial headlines and opposition from GOP senators. He was nominated on December 8.
There is no indication that Trump or his decision-making inner circle would have known about the donations.
Asked if DeVos had any concerns about the appropriateness of donating, her personal spokesman Greg McNeilly said “no concerns whatsoever.” The Department of Education did not immediately respond.
The White House did not immediately answer an inquiry as to whether Trump or his staff knew about the donations.