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如何在特朗普的华盛顿赚大钱(二):特朗普专家

更新时间:2017-9-2 10:05:42 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

How to Get Rich in Trump’s Washington
如何在特朗普的华盛顿赚大钱(二):特朗普专家

Lewandowski’s journey from obscure New Hampshire political operative to celebrity power broker was emblematic of how Trump’s election scrambled Washington’s hierarchies. Much like Stryk, Lewandowski had spent years in the lower ranks of conservative politics and lobbying. Being hired as Trump’s campaign manager moved Lewandowski into the political big time, and being fired, midway through the race, did little to dislodge him. There were speaking gigs, a stint as a reliably pro-Trump pundit on CNN. At one point last year, Lewandowski even tried selling a book, tentatively titled ‘‘Let Trump Be Trump’’; Stryk, introduced to Lewandowski by a mutual friend, helped him shop the proposal. ‘‘Corey had a brand,’’ Stryk told me, and that brand was valuable. HarperCollins offered Lewandowski $1.2 million, an astounding figure for a campaign manager — though the deal evaporated when Lewandowski refused to show HarperCollins a copy of his nondisclosure agreement with Trump.

从默默无闻的新罕布什尔政治工作者到著名权力掮客,莱万多夫斯基的平步青云反映出特朗普胜选如何搅乱了华盛顿的等级体系。和斯特莱克一样,莱万多夫斯基在保守派政治和游说势力底层打拼多年。获聘特朗普竞选经理让莱万多夫斯基成了政坛重量级人物,而竞选中途被解雇几乎没有影响他的地位。他得到一些演讲机会,作为一个坚定支持特朗普的专家,在CNN上出现了一段时间。去年,莱万多夫斯基甚至一度想出一本书,书名暂定为《让特朗普继续特朗普》(Let Trump Be Trump)。斯特莱克经由一位共同的朋友认识了莱万多夫斯基,帮他推销这个出书计划。“科里是个品牌,”斯特莱克对我说,而且是个有价值的品牌。哈珀-柯林斯出版社(HarperCollins)给莱万多夫斯基出价120万美元,对一名竞选经理来说,这是一个惊人的数字,不过在莱万多夫斯基拒绝向哈珀柯林斯出示他和特朗普签署的保密协议副本后,这项交易终止了。

Through it all, Lewandowski remained close to Trump and spoke to him often. But after the election, the White House job Lewandowski hoped for never quite materialized. Now Lewandowski, too, was on K Street. He had joined up with another former Trump aide, Barry Bennett, to start a lobbying firm called Avenue Strategies.

经过所有这些,莱万多夫斯基依然与特朗普关系密切,经常能和他说上话。但大选之后,莱万多夫斯基希望在白宫得到的工作始终没能实现。现在,莱万多夫斯基也在K街上。他和特朗普的另一名前助手巴里·贝内特(Barry Bennett)创立了一个名叫“大道战略”(Avenue Strategies)的游说公司。

Unlike other people on K Street, Lewandowski did not pretend to be an expert on the legislative calendar or the fine points of the Administrative Procedure Act. He was an expert on Trump. ‘‘There are just so few people in Washington who know the president,’’ Lewandowski told me in February. ‘‘It’s a comparative advantage.’’ He was not shy about playing up their friendship. He sometimes tweeted from the White House grounds. When journalists or other visitors came to his office, on Pennsylvania Avenue a few blocks from the White House, he would point out his window to where, he claimed, he could see the president’s bedroom.

和K街上的其他人不同,莱万多夫斯基没有假装自己多么熟悉立法日程或《行政程序法》(Administrative Procedure Act)的微妙。他是特朗普专家。“华盛顿了解总统的人很少,”莱万多夫斯基今年2月对我说。“这是我的一个相对优势。”他并不羞于鼓吹他们的友情。他有时会在白宫园区内发推。每当有记者或其他宾客访问他的办公室——就在宾夕法尼亚大道上,离白宫几个街区——他会指向窗外,声称他能看见总统卧室。

His mind-meld with Trump was what made him valuable to clients, Lewandowski explained to me. ‘‘I think what I bring is a level of understanding of the president’s thought process,’’ he said, ‘‘only because I had the privilege of being next to him for so long.’’ He was doing as many as nine or 10 meetings a day: Chief executives, prominent Republicans, even other lobbying firms wanted his advice. He offered it freely, Lewandowski told me. He wanted to be helpful. ‘‘You know what a guy said to me the other day?’’ he said. ‘‘ ‘You’ve got a hot hand. Just remember, that hand’s not going to be hot forever.’ ’’

莱万多夫斯基对我说,他和特朗普的心有灵犀是他对客户的价值所在。“我觉得我的作用是,我对总统的思考过程有一定程度的了解,”他说,“因为我有幸在他身边待了这么久。”他每天要开九到十个会:有首席执行官,知名共和党人,甚至其他游说公司也想听听他的建议。莱万多夫斯基对我说,他自愿提供建议。他想帮忙。“你知道有一天有个人对我说了什么吗?”他说。“他说,‘你现在手很热,但你要记得,不可能永远这么热下去的。’ ”

One good source of business was the president’s habit of calling chief executives to the White House for televised meetings. In January, when the chief executive of Whirlpool was summoned by Trump to discuss how to revive American jobs, the company asked Avenue Strategies to advise it. As one lobbyist who shared clients with Lewandowski put it to me, companies like Whirlpool needed to know the lay of the land inside the White House: How much sway did Wilbur Ross have? Was Steve Bannon for real? And what should the company do if Trump started dumping on it on Twitter?

总统喜欢把企业高管们叫到白宫,召开有电视转播的会议,这是一个很好的业务来源。一月,惠普公司的首席执行官被特朗普召去讨论如何恢复美国的就业,该公司请大道战略就此提出建议。正如一个和莱万多夫斯基拥有共同客户的游说者告诉我的,惠普这样的公司需要知道白宫内部的形势如何:威尔伯·罗斯(Wilbur Ross)有多大影响力?史蒂夫·班农(Steve Bannon)是来真的吗?如果特朗普在Twitter上谴责惠普,那么它又该怎么办?

Everyone had seen what happened to Lockheed Martin. Lockheed, the federal government’s single biggest contractor, is a powerful presence inside the Beltway. But through the winter, Trump had lashed out at the company over cost overruns on the F-35 fighter jet. The company’s shares dropped each time, taking Lockheed’s value down by billions of dollars. These were the kinds of problems that Lewandowski believed others on K Street couldn’t help with. ‘‘If you’re a corporate C.E.O. and the president has tweeted at you and your stock has dropped 4 percent, you say: ‘Why am I paying all these guys so much money?’ ’’ Lewandowski said. The old model of Washington influence wouldn’t work on Trump, he believed. ‘‘They don’t know him, and they don’t know any of his guys, and they don’t understand how he thinks.’’ Eventually Lockheed, too, turned to Avenue.

所有人都看到了洛克希德·马丁(Lockheed Martin)的遭遇。该公司是联邦政府最大的军事承包商,在华盛顿精英内部有很大势力。但是特朗普整个冬天都在为F-35战斗机成本超支一事抨击它,每次都会令该公司的股票下跌,导致洛克希德的市值下降了数十亿美元。莱万多夫斯基认为,对于这样的问题,K街上的其他人帮不上忙。“如果你是公司的首席执行官,总统发推指责你,导致公司股价下跌了4%,你就会觉得:‘为什么我要给那些家伙这么多钱?’”莱万多夫斯基说。他认为华盛顿施加影响的旧模式对于特朗普来说是行不通的。“他们不了解他,他们不了解他手下的任何人,他们不明白他的想法。”最后洛克希德也转而求助于大道。

Over the course of a few conversations with the company’s Washington office, Bennett told me, they advised Lockheed on how Marillyn Hewson, its president and chief executive, should approach conversations: ‘‘Short, direct, honest answers,’’ as Bennett recounted it for me later. ‘‘Feel free to educate the president. In the end, it’s going to be transactional.’’ The next time Hewson met with Trump, a week before the inauguration, she came bearing gifts: a potential F-35 price cut and a promise to add jobs at a Texas plant.

贝内特告诉我,大道和洛克希德的华盛顿办公室谈了几次,他们向洛克希德总裁兼首席执行官玛丽莲·修森(Marillyn Hewson)提出建议,和总统对话的方式应该是:“给出简短、直接、诚实的回答”,正如贝内特后来向我描述的那样。“总统不懂的地方,你可以直接教他。”修森再次面见特朗普是在就职典礼之前的一个星期,她带去了礼物:F-35的降价可能性,以及在德克萨斯工厂增加工作岗位的承诺。

The Twitter attacks ceased. By the end of February, Trump was praising Lockheed. ‘‘They’ve just announced eighteen hundred new jobs,’’ Trump told reporters after a meeting with Hewson and other manufacturing executives. ‘‘I have to say this, Marillyn, you’ve gotten a lot of credit because what you did was the right thing.’’

Twitter上的攻击停止了。到二月底,特朗普夸奖了洛克希德。“他们刚刚宣布增加1800个新的工作岗位,”特朗普在与修森和其他制造业高管会面后对记者说。“我必须说,玛丽莲,你立了大功,因为你所做的事情是正确的。”

Lewandowski’s help did not come cheap. A typical boutique lobbying firm might charge $10,000 to $15,000 a month. A big lobbying or law firm, with teams of para­legals or assistants and high overhead, might charge twice that, with a three-month retainer. Avenue sometimes asked for as much as $50,000 a month — a top-shelf price on K Street — and Lewandowski on occasion tried to go higher. But there were plenty of takers: By midwinter, Avenue had ‘‘more than a dozen, less than 50’’ clients, Lewandowski told me at the time.

莱万多夫斯基的帮助并不便宜。一家典型的小型精英游说公司每月可能收取1到1.5万美元的费用。大型游说公司或律师事务所拥有法务专员或助手,开销很大,他们的收费可能是小公司的两倍,还要收取三个月的预付金。大道的费用有时高达每月5万美元——这是K街的顶级价格——莱万多夫斯基有时还试图收取更高的费用。但是有很多人愿意接受这样的价格:冬天刚过去一半的时候,大道已经有了“几十个客户,不到50”,当时莱万多夫斯基这样告诉我。

The demand was so great that would-be Trump-whisperers were popping up in Washington like toadstools after a rainstorm. The former Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich, a ‘‘senior adviser’’ to the lobbying practice at Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, was hawking a book titled ‘‘Understanding Trump.’’ Established K Street firms were grabbing any Trump people they could find: Jim Murphy, Trump’s former political director, joined the lobbying giant BakerHostetler, while another firm, Fidelis Government Relations, struck up a partnership with Bill Smith, Mike Pence’s former chief of staff. All told, close to 20 ex-aides of Trump, friends and hangers-on had made their way into Washington’s influence business.

需求实在太大了,以至于想在特朗普耳边吹风的人就像雨后的蘑菇一样在华盛顿冒出来。特朗普的前任代理人纽特·金里奇(Newt Gingrich)在全球最大律师事务所德同(Dentons)担任其游说部门的“高级顾问”,目前他正在兜售一本名为《理解特朗普》(Understanding Trump)的书。各家老牌K街公司正在努力招募任何能找到的与特朗普有关的人:特朗普的前政治总监吉姆·墨菲(Jim Murphy)加入了游说巨头贝克-霍斯特勒(BakerHostetler);另一家大型游说公司菲德利斯政府关系(Fidelis Government Relations)则与迈克·彭斯(Mike Pence)的前幕僚长比尔·史密斯(Bill Smith)建立了合作关系。总的来说,目前共有将近20名特朗普的前助手、朋友和随从已经跻身于华盛顿的影响力行业。

Beltway experience was not necessarily required. Squire Patton Boggs formed a ‘‘strategic alliance’’ with Michael Cohen, Trump’s self-described ‘‘personal attorney’’ from New York, who had scant government experience. There was also Brad Gerstman, a brawny Long Island lobbyist and P.R. man who had done work for Trump in New York over the years. On election night, Gerstman was so sure Trump was going to lose that he got on a plane to Israel. As Gerstman tells it, his business partner called as soon as he landed. ‘‘Why the hell are you in Tel Aviv?’’ his partner asked. ‘‘We have an office to open in Washington.’’ Gerstman hung up and went to his hotel, where he looked out over the Mediterranean, put a cigar in his mouth and listened to the congratulatory messages piled up in his voice mail. In January, he set up an office in downtown Washington. ‘‘We don’t want to sell ourselves as just the Trump guys,’’ Gerstman told me. ‘‘But maybe that’s what it takes for the first few years.’’

这些人不一定要有华盛顿精英圈的经验。迈克尔·科恩(Michael Cohen)来自纽约,自称曾担任特朗普的“私人律师”,他几乎没有什么政府工作经验,如今与瀚宇国际律师事务所(Barton Patog Boggs)结成了“战略联盟”。还有布拉德·格斯特曼(Brad Gerstman),这个身材魁梧的长岛人是游说者和公关人员,多年来一直在纽约为特朗普工作。大选之夜,格斯特曼非常确定特朗普肯定会失利,所以坐飞机去了以色列。后来他描述说,飞机刚一降落,他马上接到了生意伙伴打来的电话。“你到底为什么要跑到特拉维夫去?”他的伙伴问。“我们得在华盛顿开个办公室。”格斯特曼挂上电话,去往酒店,在那里叼起一支雪茄,眺望地中海,听着电话留言里的无数贺电。一月,他在华盛顿市中心开了一处办公室。“我们不希望只靠着和特朗普的关系推销自己,”格斯特曼对我说。“但在头几年可能需要这样做。”

Many of the Trump-connected lobbyists told me they were turning away as much business as they accepted. One person offered Lewan­dowski $250,000 just to get the president to tweet about him. A lobbyist who worked on Trump’s inaugural committee told me of a billionaire who, within a week of the inauguration, offered a million dollars if the lobbyist could arrange for his picture to be taken in the Oval Office with the new president. ‘‘You can make $2 million if you want,’’ Bennett told me, sounding almost apologetic. ‘‘It’s like: ‘I’ve got a gold mine in Eastern Europe.’ Or: ‘My client is suing the I.R.S. — can you help?’ ’’

许多和特朗普有关系的游说者告诉我,他们接了不少业务,同时也拒绝了不少。一个人向莱万多夫斯基出价25万美元,只希望能让总统发推提到他。一个曾在特朗普就职典礼委员会里工作过的游说者告诉我,就职典礼过后不到一个星期,有个亿万富翁出价100万美元,只求游说者安排他在椭圆形办公室和新任总统合影。“只要你愿意,能挣到200万美元,”贝内特告诉我,听上去几乎显得有点惭愧。“‘我在东欧有个金矿。’或者:‘我的客户正在起诉国税局——你能帮我吗?’诸如此类。”

Not all of the new arrivals affected to be part of a revolution. One day this spring, I met with Brian Ballard, a veteran Florida lobbyist and top-tier Republican fund-raiser. Ballard had recently opened an office in Washington just a few blocks from the new Trump International Hotel. He had known Trump since the 1980s, and he later started lobbying regulators and state officials on behalf of Trump’s golf courses and his Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, but he was practical about the realities of politics. Like most of Florida’s Republican old guard, he started the 2016 campaign backing the state’s former governor, Jeb Bush, before switching to the state’s junior senator, Marco Rubio. Once it became clear that Trump would lead the Republican ticket, Ballard enthusiastically joined the campaign as Trump’s Florida finance chairman.

不是所有新来者都感觉自己成了革命的一部分。今年春天的某天,我见了来自佛罗里达州的资深游说者、共和党顶级筹款人布莱恩·巴拉德(Brian Ballard)。他最近在华盛顿开了一处办公室,距离新的特朗普国际酒店只有几个街区。他从1980年代就认识特朗普了,后来又代表特朗普的高尔夫球场和棕榈滩马阿拉歌俱乐部游说监管机构和国家官员。但是对于政治现实,他显得非常实际。同佛罗里达大部分共和党保守派一样,2016年竞选伊始,他支持该州前州长杰布·布什(Jeb Bush),然后转而支持该州资浅参议员马可·鲁比奥(Marco Rubio)。一旦明确特朗普已经稳获共和党候选人资格,巴拉德便以特朗普的佛罗里达州筹款主席身份热心投身竞选。

Ballard, who is 56, had a ruddy Florida tan that marked him as new in town, and the serene confidence of a man who saw no way he could lose. At his office, an attractive receptionist led us into a spotless conference room. ‘‘I’m not an expert in Washington, D.C.,’’ Ballard told me when we sat down. ‘‘I’m an expert in lobbying.’’ In Florida, Ballard had a blue-chip list of corporate clients: Google, pharmaceutical companies, Big Sugar. His business plan was simple: to sign up his Florida clients for Trump-related advice in Washington. ‘‘When I was on the campaign, they didn’t want to pitch in,’’ Ballard said of his clients. ‘‘And now they say: ‘How do I figure out what is going on here?’ ’’

巴拉德今年56岁,有着佛罗里达州人典型的红润肤色,说明他是这里的新人,同时还有着不服输的男人身上那种安详的自信。来到他的办公室,一个漂亮的接待员带领我们走进一尘不染的会议室。“我并不是华盛顿的专家,”我们坐下来时,巴拉德告诉我。“我是个游说专家。”在佛罗里达,巴拉德的客户名单上有许多蓝筹公司:谷歌,各种医药公司,糖业巨头。他的商业计划很简单:在华盛顿向他的佛罗里达州客户们提供与特朗普相关的建议。“当我参加竞选时,他们不想出力,”巴拉德谈起他的客户们。“现在他们说:‘我该怎么弄清楚这里发生的事情?’”

By the end of his first 100 days in office, it seemed, Trump had not so much drained the swamp as enshrouded it with a billowing fog of uncertainty. No previous president had changed his mind more often, or contradicted his cabinet so frequently, or permitted such vicious ideological combat under his White House roof. Many clients just wanted to know what they could safely ignore. ‘‘White Houses are always somewhat opaque places of fascination, where you don’t quite know who is up and who is down, or how decisions are ultimately reached,’’ said Bruce P. Mehlman, a prominent Republican lobbyist who served in the George W. Bush administration. ‘‘The added complexity here was there was not a single consistent governing philosophy. It was not clear if the president saw trade the way that Gary Cohn sees it or the way Steve Bannon sees it.’’

特朗普就职满100天之时,沼泽里的水似乎没少下去多少,只是为它笼上了一层变幻无常的浓重迷雾。此前没有任何一位总统像他这样经常改变主意,经常反对自己的内阁,或是容许在白宫屋檐下发生如此恶劣的意识形态斗争。许多客户只是想知道,有哪些东西他们是个可以放心地无视的。“白宫向来都是个外人看不太清楚的迷人所在,你不知道那里谁的地位在升,谁在降,也不知道最终的决定是怎么做出来的,”著名共和党游说者,曾在乔治·W·布什(George W. Bush)政府任职的布鲁斯·P·梅尔曼(Bruce P. Mehlman)说。“如今复杂性又有所增加,因为这里没有一套连贯一致的治理哲学。人们不清楚总统是以加里·科恩的方式还是史蒂夫·班农的方式来看待贸易。”

Moreover, some of the usual paths through the bog were now closed. Hundreds of senior administration jobs were going unfilled, as Trump’s cabinet secretaries battled with his inner circle over potential hires from among the Republican regulars in Washington. One lobbyist at a well-regarded firm with numerous financial clients told me that his problem was less that he didn’t know whom to call than that there was no one to call: Infighting and vetting problems had stymied so many appointments at the Treasury Department that many of the offices were empty.

此外,穿越泥沼的一些常见路径如今已经关闭。对于是否雇用华盛顿那些共和党老面孔,特朗普的若干内阁部长和他的内部小圈子之间展开了较量,数百个高级政府工作人员的职位尚处于空缺之中。一家拥有众多金融客户的显赫公司的一位游说者告诉我,他的问题与其说是不知道该给谁打电话,不如说是根本没有可打电话的人:内讧和审查问题令财政部的许多任命受阻,很多办公室都是空的。

All of this had inadvertently created an entirely new business model for Trump’s friends and former employees. In normal times, K Street did much of its business on Capitol Hill, where the churn of legislation offered unending opportunity to deliver goodies for clients. But the power vacuum in Trump’s cabinet agencies, and the inexperience of his West Wing staff, seemed to offer a different kind of opening. It was easy to imagine that a single phone call, coming from the right person, could redirect a major policy initiative. Some of the old firms would do O.K., Lewandowski thought — the ones that had relationships in Congress, that understood the intricate ballet of lawmaking. But the real action, he was betting, would be at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. ‘‘I think this particular administration is really going to be driving the agenda,’’ he told me. ‘‘Not Congress.’’

所有这一切在无意中为特朗普的朋友和前雇员们创造了一个全新的商业模式。在正常情况下,K街的大部分业务都是在国会山完成,立法机关内的纷扰提供了无穷无尽的机会,可以为客户牟利。但特朗普内阁机构中的权力真空,加之他的西翼幕僚缺乏经验,似乎带来了另一种可能性。不难想象,一个电话,只要它来自正确的人,便有可能会重新决定某个重要政策举措的方向。莱万多夫斯基认为,一些在国会有关系,理解立法复杂过程的老牌公司可以干得不错。但他将会把筹码压在宾夕法尼亚大道的另一头,那里才是关键所在。“我觉得真正主导议程的会是这个特别的政府,”他告诉我。“而不是国会。”

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