Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has made a lot of out-there statements during his campaign, almost all of of which have been heavily scrutinized. However, there’s one in particular that’s raised the ire of long-time Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman, to the point that he sent Attorney General Loretta Lynch a letter (PDF) requesting that she have Trump investigated for political corruption. Burkman is concerned with Trump’s tendency to brag that anyone he’s donated to is at his beck and call. For example, there was this exchange during CNN’s Republican debate on August 6th of last year (emphasis ours):
Q: You’ve also supported a host of other liberal policies, you’ve also donated to several Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton included, Nancy Pelosi. You explained away those donations saying you did that to get business related favors. And you said recently, quote, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.
TRUMP: You better believe it… I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people. Before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me. And that’s a broken system.
Q: So what did you get from Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi?
TRUMP: I’ll tell you what. With Hillary Clinton, I said, be at my wedding and she came to my wedding. You know why? She had no choice! Because I gave.
“I’m a lobbyist, and a conservative Republican lobbyist, and I know this world very well,” Burkman explained to LawNewz. “What really kind of gripes me is [this]: Lobbyists today are heavily regulated. We’re like public utilities, […] and we go to great lengths to follow the rules and be squeaky clean because we have to. And then you have a guy like Trump, who comes along and [not only] breaks the rules, but boasts about breaking the rules. These aren’t allegations or suppositions: Just look at Trump’s own statements. He’s admitted more than 100 times to quid pro quo.”
Burkman isn’t shy about comparing Trump’s tact on this matter to that of of someone that the candidate has become increasingly intertwined with in public to as of late: Vladimir Putin.
“Not only is he bragging about his great abilities to do this, but he’s suggesting that the fact that he knows how to work the system in a corrupt way will make him a good leader. I mean, these are the kinds of arguments Putin makes to Russia when they have their sham elections! This is pretty bad for the United States. Picture any president, Republican or Democrat, saying that,” Burkman said.
As for his letter to Loretta Lynch, Burkman is optimistic that it will go somewhere. “Obviously, we’ll see who comes in next, probably Hillary Clinton[‘s administration], I hope they look into it. It’s a long process to be sure; they have to conduct an investigation. I’m sure we’ll be able to persuade them to open a file, but it will take a while, and the wheels of justice are not quick,” he said.
We reached out to Trump’s campaign to get their response, but haven’t heard back.
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