Corporate Offenders Swamp Trump: Corporations Meeting with Trump Have Paid Penalties Totaling Nearly $90 Billion Since 2010
Donald Trump often seems most at home at-home meeting with titans of industry. But a Public Citizen analysis finds that the executives rubbing elbows with the president represent corporations that are far from upstanding corporate citizens.
More than 100 of the executives that have met with President Trump since he was elected – 122 – come from companies that paid a fine or penalty since 2010, a Public Citizen analysis of data from Good Jobs First’s Corporate Research Project finds.
Including also fines associated with Goldman Sachs and ExxonMobil – effectively represented inside the administration by former executives Gary Cohn and Rex Tillerson – these companies have paid a grand total of nearly $90 billion to resolve regulatory and legal violations imposed by the Department of Justice and federal regulatory enforcement agencies.
Public Citizen’s analysis is based on the Violation Tracker database, which is produced by the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First.
Table 1: Top Corporate Offenders Whose Executives Met with Trump Between Election Day and May 30, 2017
|CORPORATION||EXECUTIVE MEETING WITH TRUMP||PENALTIES SINCE 2010|
|JPMorgan Chase||Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO||$28,675,456,874|
|Volkswagen||David Geanacopoulos, senior executive vice president for public affairs and public policy||$19,225,193,500|
|Citigroup Inc.||Michael Corbat, CEO||$15,518,046,942|
|Goldman Sachs||Gary Cohn, former COO, director of the National Economic Council under Trump||$9,311,300,000|
|HSBC||Patrick Burke, president and CEO of U.S. subsidiary||$4,066,684,500|
Penalty source: Violation Tracker via Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First.
In a previous report, Public Citizen tallied meetings between President Trump and corporate executives during the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency. This report supplements the earlier report’s corporate executive meeting data with Politico’s Unauthorized White House visitor log, the most comprehensive resource available for tracking with whom the president is meeting.
The bulk of the penalties, or nearly $86 billion, were paid by 15 huge corporations. The largest amount paid in total penalties was paid by megabank JPMorgan Chase, which paid more than $28 billion since 2010, largely to resolve Justice Department lawsuits connected with abusive actions related to the 2008 financial crisis. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who is a member of Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, has emerged as a regular defender of Trump and Trump’s policies.
Among the big banks, only Bank of America, whose executives have not met with Trump, has been penalized more.
Citigroup, which was required to pay more than $15 billion, and Goldman Sachs, which was required to pay more than $9 billion, both largely to settle allegations of violations committed in the run-up to the financial crisis, also are among the top five corporate offenders whose executives have met with Trump. Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat co-chaired Trump’s “CEO Town Hall”; Gary Cohn, a Goldman Sachs executive, left the corporation to join Trump’s cabinet as director of the National Economic Council.
Other large penalties were levied against Volkswagen and HSBC. Volkswagen was required by the Environmental Protection Agency to pay more than $19 billion in penalties connected with its conspiracy to use illegal “defeat devices” that enabled its diesel-fueled vehicles to cheat required fuel efficiency tests. Volkswagen pleaded guilty to three criminal felony counts for its illegal scheme. Volkswagen executive David Geanacopoulos was among the auto industry leaders with whom Trump met during a March visit to Detroit, Mich.
HSBC paid more than $4 billion to settle allegations for numerous violations, a sizeable portion of which was a fine for the international bank’s failure to prevent money-laundering activities tied to drug traffickers and international terrorist groups. HSBC admitted to anti-money laundering and sanctions violations in exchange for a deferred prosecution agreement. Patrick Burke, president and CEO of HSBC Bank USA, attended Trump’s CEO Town Hall.
In light of President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ frequent tough talk on crime, it is important to note that, in practice, the Trump-Sessions era of federal law enforcement demonstrates zero tolerance for undocumented immigrants and low-level offenders while at the same time a high degree of lenience when it comes to corporate offenders, as a recent settlement with Citigroup and an expected settlement with Wal-Mart over allegations of bribing officials in Mexico show.
Also noteworthy are the administration’s efforts to weaken enforcement agencies such as the EPA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) whose job is to prevent corporations from harming the public and punish corporate violators.
Table 2: Alphabetical List of Corporate Offenders Whose Executives Have Met with Trump Between Election Day and May 30, 2017 More