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Lewandowski Lied About Working as Lobbyist for Coal-Power Company

In case anyone needs a reminder of why it’s so unseemly that Governor Kristi Noem allows New Hampshire political operative and MAGA-malarkey-maker Corey Lewandowski to hang around her office and plan her inauguration, it’s not just that he Trumpily objectifies women. He also engaged in openly corrupt  lobbying during the Trump Administration and lied about it.

In 2017, Lewandowski was lobbying Trump to give coal-burning utility FirstEnergy and coal-mining corporation Murray Energy a big federal bailout. Lewandowski helped FirstEnergy and Murray Energy CEOs get meetings with Trump in the White House. Lewandowski’s coal lobbying failed. Lewandowski, who never registered as a federal lobbyist, denied that he was on those companies’ payroll, but newly released records obtained by subpoena by the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel show that FirstEnergy had a contract with Lewandowski to push its agenda in the White House:

In a May 2, 2017 email to FirstEnergy’s CEO Charles Jones, the company’s VP of external affairs Michael Dowling listed “Corey Lewandowski” among the “Outside consultants engaged” to work on FirstEnergy’s “DOE Team” at a time when the Department of Energy was the main target of FirstEnergy’s bailout campaign.

The following month, Dowling received an email about a “Contract for Lewandowski Strategic Advisors, LCC” from Mike Rubino, another Trump campaign veteran who worked with Lewandowski. A copy of the contract was originally attached to the email, but was not included in the records released yesterday.

“Great seeing you on Monday! Corey is waiting for the final ok from POTUS on the meeting,” Rubino said in the email. “Attached is the contract and invoice we talked about on Monday for the new company” [Dave Anderson, “FirstEnergy Secretly ‘Engaged’ Corey Lewandowski to Lobby Trump for a Public Bailout, Subpoenaed Records Confirm After Years of Denials,” Energy and Policy Institute, 2022.12.22].

Last year at CPAC, Noem exhorted her fellow right-wingers to “speak the truth” as the first response to a “Left” that “lives on lies.” Yet she keeps as one of her closest advisors a man who lies about how he makes his living and peddles his political influence.


  1. AmyB 2023-01-09

    I bet if someone dug deep enough they would find that Corey isn’t the “unpaid volunteer” Kristi and company claimed he was.

  2. Mark Anderson 2023-01-09

    A Republican lies? That’s the Republican first commandment. Lie unto others. The second is, Lie unto thyself. They don’t want to feel bad after all.

  3. e platypus onion 2023-01-11

    Top magat lobbyist, Matt Schlapp, has been accused of getting jiggy with a male aide. The alleged victim notified others about the charges which appear t0o be legit. Maybe Noem can hire another wayward magat staffer.

  4. leslie 2023-01-14

    Lewandowski in SD represents the aggressive capitalism Trump brought to manipulate public trust in good government. Kristi Noem’s brand of Republican lying, however, isn’t necessarily the future. She can only ignore norms of better behavior for so long.

    Lew “worked as a lobbyist for Americans For Prosperity, a libertarian advocacy group backed by billionaires Charles and David Koch, before joining Trump’s campaign team.” Becoming crosswise w/Paul Manafort, Trump told Lew: “You’re fired” in 2016 and the next year an “Ohio electric utility and one of the country’s top coal companies had some well-placed help [Lew] when pressing President Donald Trump for emergency federal assistance for the coal industry.”

    Lew was unsuccessful.

    In another positive story contrary to the aggressive capitalism and lying Republicanism which has since been dividing the nation “after six years of failed efforts by the IRS, Justice Department and lawmakers, new legislation is expected to prevent the worst abuses of a tax-avoidance scheme that has cost the U.S. Treasury billions of dollars. Tucked into the massive, $1.7 trillion government spending bill signed into law by President Joe Biden … a provision in the law seems poised to accomplish what thousands of audits, threats of hefty penalties and criminal prosecutions could not: shutting down a booming business in “syndicated conservation easements,” which exploit a charitable tax break that Congress established to preserve open land.

    Under standard conservation easements, landowners give up development rights for their acreage, often an appealing, bucolic space. In return, they receive a charitable deduction equal to the property’s development value, and the public benefits by the preservation of the land, which in some cases is made available as a park.

    [I]vestigative reports in The Washington Post generated clouds of scandal [as far back as 2003, of]…write-off…. stories exposed self-dealing at the Nature Conservancy; sham deductions….

    [In] 2005, Donald Trump took a $39 million deduction on his private golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. In 2014, he donated an easement on an 11.5-acre driving range in Los Angeles. Trump has made at least five easement gifts, generating more than $100 million in write-offs.

    [While] Republicans scrambled to find revenue to underwrite their 2017 Tax Cut — legislation that they claimed would reform and simplify the system — they permitted syndicated easements to survive intact.

    185 acres for a conservation easement [fir example, in 2016 under] preliminary appraisal…would justify a $40 million deduction. That’s a value of more than $215,000 an acre — almost ten times the price at which the land had been offered for sale just months earlier.

    (It was a long-vacant golf course near a trailer park) [much like Rapid City’s LaCroix Links].

    Deep budget cuts left the IRS with limited resources for the costly task of disputing an appraisal, which often required hiring outside experts. “The IRS is outgunned,” says Steve Small, the former IRS attorney. “They don’t have the budget or personnel to audit a fraction of these transactions.”
    [P]romoters snatched up idle land
    and hired an appraiser willing to claim that it had huge, previously unrecognized development value — perhaps for luxury vacation homes or a solar farm — which they contended made it worth many times its purchase price. The promoters then sold stakes in a massive conservation easement deduction to rich investors, who made a quick profit by claiming charitable write-offs that were four to six times their investment. The promoters reaped millions in fees.

    As Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., chair of the Senate Finance Committee, told ProPublica last June, “There is a tax shelter gold mine here, and they’re fighting very hard to protect it.” He added, “This is a textbook case of the power of lobbyists.”

    By that point, the legislation targeting syndicated deals had been introduced, in one legislative chamber or another, eight times. A late-2021 strategy to include the syndication-killer language in Biden’s Build Back Better bill had unraveled at the hands of Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, then a Democrat, who demanded that it be stripped out as a condition of her critical vote to win passage of the larger measure.

    During a June 22[, 2022] Senate Finance Committee markup on retirement legislation, Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., a longtime sponsor of the Integrity Act, identified the projected windfall from a clampdown on syndicated easements as a way to pay for a popular proposal enhancing benefits for disabled police, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs. That bipartisan legislation, months later, got added to the massive, must-pass government funding bill, where no single lawmaker had the power to strip it out.

    A big concession sealed support for the deal: Daines and other backers agreed not to apply the law to transactions that date back to when the IRS flagged syndicated easements as abusive in 2016 (though the IRS can still pursue cases from back then). Instead the new limits apply only to transactions that occur after the law’s enactment.

    [T]he measure, combined with $80 billion in new funding for the resource-starved agency, “will hopefully allow the IRS compliance and taxpayer education efforts to catch up on abusive syndicated conservation easement transactions as well as other similarly important service and compliance functions.”

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