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What we knew about Donald Trump’s inner circle, when we knew it

Ben Carson

Nothing’s official yet, but Ben Carson will supposedly serve as Trump’s Housing and Urban Development secretary.

In a Republican primary field of establishment politicians, Carson and Trump were consummate outsiders.

The demure doctor put together an impressive small-dollar fundraising machine built on the collection of personal information from millions of supporters. Months later, the campaign reported earning quarter million dollars by selling donors personal information, as Center for Public Integrity reporter Carrie Levine predicted it would.

Most recently, Carson reportedly told friends he lacked government experience to serve an official role in Trump’s administration — although this hasn’t dissuaded Trump.

Nikki Haley, ambassador to the United Nations

Although Haley initially criticized Trump’s candidacy, she warmed up to him along with many other Republicans who first endorsed another GOP presidential candidates. Under Haley’s tenure as governor of South Carolina, the state earned a D- in the Center for Public Integrity’s 2015 State Integrity report card.

It wasn’t all bad for Haley, though. She received about $380,000 worth of free passes to University of South Carolina and Clemson football games during her first four years as governor.

Todd Ricketts, deputy commerce secretary

The Chicago Cubs co-owner had a good year.

His baseball team won the World Series, and Ricketts was one of the primary backers of Future 45, a super PAC that went from attacking Trump to spending big money on his behalf.

Betsy DeVos, education secretary

The DeVos family is well known in Republican money circles. Let’s let Betsy DeVos do her own talking about political money, from this 1997 op-ed:

“[M]y family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican party … I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now, I simply concede the point.”

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