According to new FEC filings, several CEOs appointed by President Trump to help manage the White House task force to reopen the country previously donated millions to underwrite the president’s reelection campaign, raising questions about the ability of wealthy donors to buy access to influence federal policy during the COVID-19 crisis.
Among the donors on the task force is Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of the private equity firm Blackstone Group, who previously contributed $3 million to pro-Trump superPAC America First Action on January 31, 2020. Blackstone Group has reportedly recently invested upwards of $2 billion in the pharmaceuticals industry in an apparent effort to profit off the COVID-19 crisis.
According to the FEC filings, other campaign donors who have been appointed to the task force include Geoff Palmer, a Trump mega-donor and real estate tycoon who contributed $2 million America First Action, and Warren Stephens, a private investment banker who contributed $1 million.
The donations fall in line with the president’s long history of providing access to wealthy, and often unqualified, former campaign donors to serve in his administration.