By Rebecca Ballhaus
WASHINGTON (Wall Street Journal) — Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Wednesday, January 18, named Ken Nahigian, who until November was registered as a lobbyist, to head the Trump transition team, raising questions about whether the appointment runs counter to President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to eschew lobbyists and “drain the swamp.”
Nahigian has been “deeply involved with transition planning” since July, the transition team said in a statement on Wednesday. He did not terminate his lobbying registration until Nov. 16—the same day the transition finalized a 13-point code of ethics barring registered lobbyists from working on transition matters on which they had previously lobbied the government.
Under Nahigian, the transition team will be responsible for guiding the new president’s nominees through their confirmation hearings as well as for the “peaceful transition of power,” according to the team’s statement. He is succeeding Rick Dearborn, who was named a deputy chief of staff in the White House.
Nahigian had been registered to lobby for Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd., an Israeli-based company known for its generic drugs business, to “advocate for pathway to improving existing therapies,” according to public lobbying records.
In 2016, Nahigian appears to have largely monitored the issue for the company, rather than actively lobbying, according to the records. He was paid at least $135,000 for his services in 2016. Previously, he had lobbied both chambers of Congress on the company’s behalf.