A theme in my book, Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person, is that when overarching rules and laws are created that apply to everyone, an area of central power is created that others will attempt to influence to get the rules and laws written in their favor. This is in contrast to a Private Property Society where there are no overarching rules and that rules are made by each property owner for his own property.
The recent leak of financial records connected to President Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen provides an object lesson in the remarkably brazen manner in which
corporations attempted to get close to the head of the central power in the United States, the president.
A Washington Post article, Cohen, touting his access to President Trump, convinced companies to pay millions, tells us:
President Donald Trump had been sworn into office, and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, saw a golden opportunity.-Robert Wenzel
From his perch in a law office on the 23rd floor of New York's Rockefeller Center, Cohen pitched potential clients on his close association with Trump, noting that he still was the president's lawyer, according to associates. He showed photos of himself with Trump and mentioned how frequently they spoke, even asking people to share news articles describing him as the president's "fixer."
"I'm crushing it," he said, according to an associate who spoke to him in the summer of 2017.
Details that emerged this week reveal how Cohen quickly leveraged his role as Trump's personal attorney, developing a lucrative sideline as a consultant to companies eager for insight into how to navigate the new administration. The rapid flow of millions of dollars to Cohen shows the rush by corporations - unable to rely on the influence of Washington's traditional lobbying class in dealing with a new, populist outsider president - to lock in relationships with Trump's inner circle.
The companies cited a range of reasons for hiring Cohen. A Korean defense company competing for a U.S. contract said it paid him $150,000 to advise it on accounting practices. A global pharmaceutical company said it paid him $1.2 million to provide insight into health-care policy - money it said it was required to keep paying even after concluding that Cohen had little to offer. A telecommunication company said it turned to him simply to better understand the Trump administration.
Even the office in which he operated - which served as fulcrum of the newly created Michael D. Cohen & Associates - was a side benefit of his Trump affiliation. It was provided by the powerhouse legal and lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs, which signed Cohen to a $500,000 deal in the wake of the 2016 election...
AT&T...hired Cohen "to provide insights into understanding the new administration."...
AT&T had several important issues before federal officials, including the company's proposed merger with Time Warner.