Senior White House Adviser Departs for Business Lobby Group

Updated on
  • Marcus Peacock now second in command at Business Roundtable
  • CEO group is ramping up to capitalize on Trump initiatives

Trump Budget Adviser Joins Dimon's Business Roundtable

Senior White House budget adviser Marcus Peacock is leaving President Donald Trump’s administration to become the second in command at a high-profile business lobby group in Washington that’s looking to increase its influence.

Peacock, a top policy expert in the Office of Management and Budget, joined the Business Roundtable Wednesday and will lead policy work on the group’s key issues related to Trump’s agenda, including tax legislation, infrastructure spending and regulatory reform, the roundtable said.

Peacock will recuse himself from lobbying OMB for six months, the roundtable said. When he joined the Trump administration, Peacock signed an ethics pledge required by the president that would’ve banned him from lobbying his former office for five years. The White House granted him a waiver from that commitment, the roundtable said. At OMB, Peacock served as a special government employee -- a temporary position that allows a person to work no more than 130 days in a year.

Since JPMorgan Chase & Co. chief executive Jamie Dimon took over in January as chairman of the roundtable, the group has been taking steps to capitalize on the Trump administration’s pro-business agenda. Dimon installed as president Joshua Bolten, a former chief of staff to President George W. Bush who also worked with Peacock in that administration.

“Marcus Peacock has built a distinguished record in Washington and is widely recognized for his expertise in budgeting, policy and federal regulation,” Bolten said in a statement. “I am delighted he is joining our team at Business Roundtable.”

Dimon and Bolten are trying to change the reputation of the roundtable, which is comprised of about 200 corporate leaders. The association’s CEO-only membership gives it heft, but the executives have often struggled to reach consensus on key issues. The current debate over whether Congress should impose a border-adjusted tax that would apply to imports but not exports is a case in point because it has pitted retailers against manufacturers.

The roundtable hasn’t in the past been known for engaging in bare-knuckled legislative fights. It doesn’t have a political action committee to direct contributions to lawmakers, nor does it endorse candidates. Both are time-tested ways to ensure lobbying results, and have been used successfully by other big business trade groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Peacock, an engineer by training, got his master’s in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School and first served at OMB as a desk officer in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs during President Ronald Reagan’s administration and the early months of George H. W. Bush’s. He was a deputy administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush. He has also served as a staff director at the Senate Budget Committee, a project director at Pew Charitable Trusts and a deputy director for policy on Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign.

“We are seeing a new dedication by the president and Congress to get this nation moving again with policies that support jobs and economic growth,” Peacock said in a statement. “It’s an exciting time full of opportunities for the nation, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on these issues.”

(Updates to describe position at OMB in third paragraph.)
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