Center for American Progress

RELEASE: The Cost to American Families of Trump’s Culture of Corruption and How to Fix it
Press Release

RELEASE: The Cost to American Families of Trump’s Culture of Corruption and How to Fix it

Washington, D.C. — A new report from the Center for American Progress examines the corrosive impact of President Donald Trump’s culture of corruption and how it weakens U.S. government, creates national security risks, and threatens the economic security of millions of Americans.

Since his first day in office, when Trump refused to divest himself from his private businesses, his presidency has been characterized by an unending effort by him, his family, and his senior advisers to abuse and misuse their political power for personal gain. This rampant corruption has imposed real costs on average Americans and warped policy priorities towards those who are politically connected.

This report provides concrete examples of the effects of Trump’s corruption, which has:

  • Left the United States unwilling to fully confront and thwart Russian aggression
  • Resulted in the interests of the Turkish government being put before those of the United States
  • Exacerbated tensions in the Middle East
  • Led to efforts to help payday lenders by increasing borrowers’ costs by $6 billion a year
  • Spurred efforts to help politically connected coal companies by increasing consumers’ electricity costs by up to $11.8 billion each year
  • Created a political system hyperfocused on giving huge tax breaks to wealthy donors and large corporations at the expense of programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security
  • Resulted in regulatory giveaways to corporations that will cost workers $1.2 billion in overtime pay and $17 billion in retirement savings each year

It is impossible to quantify the full costs of Trump’s culture of corruption, but the corrupt decisions by the Trump administration discussed in this report alone will cost the American people more than $24 billion each year.

“A culture of corruption weakens our society as a whole,” said Sam Berger, a senior adviser at CAP and co-author of the report. “We need a system that works for everyone, not just those with powerful friends. Corrupt societies don’t prosper—they fail.”

The report recommends strategies for curbing this corruption, including robust congressional oversight, enforcing the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clause, enacting strong, clear anti-corruption policies, and requiring greater corporate transparency.

Read the report: “Confronting the Cost of Trump’s Corruption to American Families” by Sam Berger, Liz Kennedy, and Diana Pilipenko.

Related resources:

For more information or to talk to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at [email protected], or 202-478-6327.