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Trump Nominee Tillerson “Represents Everything Trump Campaigned Against and Voters Hate About Washington”

December 13, 2016 | Laura Friedenbach

Washington, D.C. — Following President-elect Donald Trump’s announcement that he is nominating Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be his secretary of state, money-in-politics reform group Every Voice stated it is just the latest sign that Trump is not serious about his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” of wealthy big-money interests.

“Nominating Rex Tillerson is Donald Trump’s latest broken promise,” said David Donnelly, Every Voice president and CEO. “He said he’d shake up Washington, but Trump has nominated billionaires and big donors to lead the government. Tillerson represents everything Trump campaigned against and voters hate about Washington.

“Donald Trump couldn’t nominate an oil corporation to represent our nation abroad, so he sprung for the next best thing – it’s CEO,” Donnelly continued. “On the campaign trail, Donald Trump mocked donors and wealthy interests while promising to represent all Americans, yet now he’s trying to place a Big Oil executive in charge of our foreign policy.”

Tillerson’s financial interest in and personal ties to Exxon could pose serious conflicts of interest:

  • Tillerson has $151 million worth of shares in Exxon, “which explores for oil and gas on six of the world’s seven continents and has operations in more than 50 countries,” creating major conflicts of interest for his work as the country’s top diplomat.
  • Exxon has one of the largest lobbying forces in Washington and, according to the Wall Street Journal, has specifically lobbied the State Department that Tillerson will oversee, “on trade and energy issues, including hydraulic fracturing and U.S. relations with Russia.”
  • In the last six years, Tillerson has donated to several Senators who’ll vote on his nomination: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ($3,400) and Sens. Roy Blunt ($2,700), Lisa Murkowski ($5,400), Cory Gardner ($1,000), John Cornyn ($2,600), and John Barrasso ($2,500). He has also donated $100,600 to Senate Republicans’ fundraising arm, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and $97,700 to the Republican National Committee during that same time period, according to Every Voice analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Tillerson is just the latest of Trump’s appointments to come from “the swamp” that Trump pledged to drain of big-money interests.

Before Tillerson’s appointment this week, the Washington Post reported that Donald Trump’s nominees and their families “gave $11.6 million to support his presidential bid, his allied super PACs and the Republican National Committee.”

Tillerson is also just the latest high-net-worth individual to be appointed to Trump’s cabinet. The combined net worth of Trump’s previous cabinet picks is at least $14 billion, according to CBS News. Those vast fortunes bring with them many potential conflicts of interests including with the industries they are charged with regulating.


Every Voice is a national nonpartisan organization fighting for a democracy that works for everyone. 

Every Voice and Every Voice Center have recently come under new leadership. We will be expanding and diversifying our efforts to promote a democracy that works for all of us and responds to the voices of everyday people. Watch this space for specifics later in 2019.