Exclusive — In Push to ‘Drain the Swamp,’ Trump Campaign Implements Rigorous Ethics, Transparency Standards for Staff, Consultants
President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has implemented a variety of precedent-setting rigorous ethics standards for a presidential campaign’s staff and consultants, Breitbart News has learned exclusively.
Most importantly, the employee manual that all campaign employees, vendors, volunteers, and consultants agree to before signing on to officially help Trump’s re-election chances bars them from any financial benefits from outside vendors, lobbyists, or Political Action Committees (PACs) associated with the campaign or related PACs.
The campaign confirmed the new standards to Breitbart News in a number of exclusive statements and by providing an excerpt from the Trump campaign staff employee manual that has not been previously publicly reported. They are part of a larger effort by President Trump to “drain the swamp,” his campaign’s national spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said, and fit with the president’s ethics pledge executive order for executive branch employees that he signed at the beginning of the administration—and with the fact that the president does not take a salary from the taxpayers but, instead, donates it back to a different part of the government every quarter.
“As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to drain the swamp,” McEnany told Breitbart News. “As president, he has done just that, setting new precedents for how both government and presidential campaigns should operate.”
The employee manual excerpt, provided to Breitbart News exclusively this week, specifically bars campaign staff, consultants, vendors, and volunteers from receiving payment or financial benefit from lobbyists, PACs, and outside vendors.
“No Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. employee, consultant, staff, or volunteer shall accept payment or other financial benefit from a vendor, lobbyist, or Political Action Committee without approval from the Campaign Treasurer,” the manual reads. “Without limiting this policy, no employee, consultant, staff, or volunteer shall accept compensation of any kind, whether money, fees, commissions, credits, or gifts, for the purpose of influencing the award of a contract or other business relationship with the Campaign.”
Perhaps the biggest-name staffer who has led the way on these standards is Trump’s re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale—who made the choice to forgo getting a cut of digital ad buys. Parscale decided he would not be taking a percentage of the ad buys, and to facilitate that decision, the campaign created American Made Media Consultants (AMMC). AMMC handles digital media buys for the Trump campaign—the Trump campaign has already made a significant amount of media buys through it, and next week’s Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports are likely to show more—but Parscale has no financial stake in it whatsoever and receives no kickback whenever the campaign does so. AMMC has an independent managing board.
Notably, Parscale would forgo taking a cut from the ad buys because he comes from the digital world—the first-ever presidential campaign manager from a digital marketing background.
“As President Trump’s campaign manager, I wanted to set a high mark, and the best start was to remove myself from accepting a percentage,” Parscale told Breitbart News. “As the first digital media campaign manager, I set a precedent. I don’t do this for a percentage; I do this for my country and for President Trump.”
Barring the financial benefits and payments to campaign staffers is not the only new standard that the Trump campaign has implemented per the employee manual excerpts provided to Breitbart News. The campaign also requires disclosure of conflicts of interest and requires staff to push for maximum value of each dollar when making decisions with campaign cash.
“In addition, all Campaign employees, consultants, staff, and volunteers shall disclose any conflict of interest that may exist with the Campaign,” the Trump employee manual reads, continuing:
Other than a consulting company with which the Campaign contracts explicitly for the services of a principal in that company, Campaign employees, consultants, staff, and volunteers agree to disclose any financial interest they may have in a transaction between the Campaign and a vendor prior to requesting a transaction with that vendor. All Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. Campaign employees, consultants, staff, and volunteers are expected to strive to obtain the maximum value for each dollar of expenditure and decline personal gifts or gratuities which might affect their decision-making process. All are expected to conduct business with potential and current suppliers in an atmosphere of good faith and devoid of intentional misrepresentation.
Michael Glassner, the chief operating officer (COO) of the Trump re-election campaign and a veteran of six different presidential campaigns, added in a statement that he believes these new ethics standards are the “highest possible” that a campaign has implemented.
“Having worked on six presidential campaigns, I can attest to the fact that the Trump campaign has the highest possible ethical standards,” Glassner told Breitbart News.
These new ethics standards for the Trump campaign come as part of a bigger push by the president and his team for a cleaner Washington, D.C. At the beginning of his presidency, Trump penned an executive order requiring all executive branch appointees to sign an ethics pledge banning lobbying for five years after leaving the federal government—and banning appointees from ever lobbying for a foreign government.
The ethics pledge that federal appointees must sign, thanks to Trump’s executive order, also includes a ban on accepting gifts from registered lobbyists and lobbying organizations during the appointees’ time in government and stipulates that hiring decisions and other decisions must be made on merit, not for other reasons.
In addition to the ethics pledge for federal employees and the Trump campaign ethics guidelines, President Trump does not take a salary from the taxpayers. According to Reuters, he is only the third president in history not to take a salary. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover, who were both, like Trump, independently wealthy, also refused salaries. While Trump takes the $1 nominal salary he is legally required to take, he donates the rest of the presidential $400,000 annual salary in quarterly installments back to the Treasury to fund different departments and agencies.