Lobbying Reports Leave Out Big Gifts to Trump Inaugural

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By Kenneth P. Doyle

Some of the biggest corporate contributors to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee didn’t report their contributions in the latest round of lobbying disclosure filings, a review by Bloomberg BNA found.

AT&T Inc., Boeing Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. all were listed as contributing $1 million or more to Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee, according to a report filed by the committee April 18 with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). No contributions related to the Trump inaugural were included in these companies’ year-end 2016 Lobbying Disclosure Act filings.

The so-called LD-203 reports are supposed to list all political contributions of companies engaged in federal lobbying. However, contributions made after Jan. 1 won’t have to be listed until midyear 2017 filings are due in July.

Many companies that donated to the Trump inaugural committee before the end of last year did report their donations in the 2016 year-end lobbying disclosure filings. Some of the donations were included in amended year-end reports filed after the inauguration.

AT&T, Boeing Donation Reports Coming

AT&T Inc., listed as the biggest corporate giver to the Trump inaugural committee at nearly $2.1 million, didn’t include an inaugural donation in its latest LD-203 report. However, a company spokesperson suggested that AT&T’s midyear lobbying disclosure filing due in July would include the money.

AT&T’s year-end LD-203 report did include, however, a $65,000 political action committee contribution to the Trump campaign’s joint fundraising “victory committee.” The contribution was made Dec. 12, more than a month after the November election, the lobbying disclosure report said.

AT&T’s contribution to the Trump inaugural was in line with its tradition of providing telecommunications support for presidential inaugurals and nominating conventions of both major parties, according to an email from the company spokesperson, who asked not to be named.

The Boeing Company’s inaugural contribution will show up in the company’s next LD-203 report due in July, Kate Bernard, a spokeswoman for Boeing, said. The company’s contribution to Trump’s inaugural was a continuation of “our bipartisan tradition of support the Boeing Company has given to inaugurations, Democratic and Republican,” she said in an email to Bloomberg BNA.

Other companies that made big inaugural donations but didn’t report them in their latest lobbying disclosure filings didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Other Companies Reported Trump Donations

Most of the big companies that contributed to the Trump inaugural and were required to filed lobbying disclosure reports included the contributions in their 2016 year-end LD-203 reports due in January, according to Bloomberg BNA’s review of filings with the Secretary of the Senate.

Bank of America Corp., Dow Chemical Co. and Pfizer Inc. were reported by the Trump committee as giving $1 million for the inaugural festivities, and these companies listed the contributions on their year-end lobbying disclosure reports. About a dozen other companies listed as giving $100,000 or more to the Trump inaugural—including corporate giants like Aetna, Exxon Mobil, General Motors, Microsoft and Verizon—also reported these contributions on their latest LD-203 filings.

The Lobbying Disclosure Act, as amended by the 2007 Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, requires lobbyists and lobbying organizations, including companies with lobbyists, to file semiannual reports listing their political donations.

The reports must include federal campaign contributions and other donations “honoring” federal officials. Guidance published by House and Senate officials who administer the LDA specifically includes payments to presidential inaugural committees among the political donations that must be listed in lobbying disclosure filings.

Lockheed Martin Listed as ‘LMC IP’

While corporate America largely shunned Trump during last year’s presidential campaign, many companies embraced him after he won the presidency.

Corporations provided much of the record $106.7 million raised for the president’s inaugural festivities in January. At least 17 companies contributed $1 million or more to Trump’s inaugural committee, according to a Bloomberg BNA review of the committee’s report filed with the FEC.

Most companies appeared reluctant to comment on their inaugural contributions, however, and even the names of some of Trump’s corporate contributors appeared obscure, at least initially, on the report filed with the FEC. For example, a $1 million contribution reported by the inaugural committee as coming from “LMC IP” listed the Bethesda, Md., address of Lockheed Martin’s corporate headquarters.

Lockheed, one of the country’s leading defense contractors, spent $13.6 million in federal lobbying last year, according to LDA reports analyzed by the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. The company was targeted on Twitter by Trump soon after he took office, with the president questioning the cost of the company’s F-35 military aircraft program.

Lockheed Martin didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment.

Some Donors Not Listed in Lobbying Reports

Other companies that were listed as contributors on the Trump inaugural committee’s FEC report couldn’t be found at all in a Bloomberg BNA review of lobbying disclosure filings. Others were listed only as clients of lobbyists.

For example, Access Industries Holdings Inc., which contributed $1 million to the Trump inaugural committee, hasn’t registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act. But, Access Industries has been listed for years as a client in LDA reports. The disclosure reports showed the company paid $200,000 last year to the law and lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP to lobby on issues related to taxing repatriated foreign income, among others.

Access Industries is headed by Russian-born American businessman Len Blavatnik, who made a fortune investing in Russian oil and aluminum following the breakup of the Soviet Union, according to Bloomberg News, which recently reported that Access Industries announced it was buying a stake in a film financing firm linked to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Another $1 million contributor to the inaugural committee was Allied Wallet Inc., whose business involves processing secure online payments. The company doesn’t appear to be registered as either a lobbying organization or a lobbying client under the federal lobbying disclosure law.

Allied Wallet is headquartered in London with a U.S. office in Los Angeles, according to the company’s website. Despite its lack of reported federal lobbying, Allied Wallet has had significant interactions with the U.S. government. In 2010, for example, the company reached a settlement with the Justice Department calling for forfeiture of $13.3 million linked to payments for illegal online gambling.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kenneth P. Doyle in Washington at kdoyle@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at phendrie@bna.com

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