Even the swamp has rules, DC lobbyists say. Michael Cohen didn’t play by them


Plenty of people in Washington, D.C. receive six figure salaries to try to convince government officials to make decisions that benefit corporations, not the public. But there are some rules.

That’s the message from lobbyists, consultants, and public relations veterans in D.C. after allegations that Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen raked in over $2 million combined from Novartis, AT&T, and a South Korean defense company.

AT&T paid Cohen $800,000 from “early 2017” until December of 2017, the company said, “to help us understand how the President and his administration might approach a wide range of policy issues.” Novartis paid Cohen $100,000 a month for 12 months, to “advise the company as to how the Trump administration might approach certain US healthcare policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act,” the company said in an email.

Not all hired advocates have to register as lobbyists. “Only individuals who spend at least 20% of their time on lobbying activity in a three-month period are required to register as lobbyists,” said Corey Goldstone, spokesperson at Campaign Legal Center. “Unless Cohen set up meetings with White House officials on behalf of the companies and exceeded the 20% threshold,” he didn’t need to register.

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