Five of Trump's choices who will face Senate committees — secretary of State pick Rex Tillerson, Education secretary choice Betsy DeVos, Labor secretary pick Andy Puzder, Commerce secretary pick Wilbur Ross and Transportation secretary pick Elaine Chao — have contributed $449,559 combined to current senators' campaigns or outside groups supporting them, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. All but Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, contributed to at least one senator elected in 2016.
Past Cabinet picks have also given to confirming senators, and the donations do not necessarily mean they will get preferential treatment. Still, they underscore the political connections of Trump's picks, whom experts say have more collective wealth than Cabinets typically have in the past.
Others facing upcoming hearings, attorney general choice Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security secretary pick John Kelly and Defense secretary choice James Mattis, have not donated to current senators. Treasury secretary pick Steven Mnuchin, who will have a hearing at a later date, has also given thousands to confirming senators.
The president-elect picked several wealthy individuals and big political donors for his Cabinet, prompting criticism from Democrats and interest groups who said he failed to live up to his populist campaign rhetoric. That issue, along with Cabinet choices' past statements, qualifications and potential foreign entanglements, could feature prominently in hearings this week.
Trump has defended his picks of wealthy people from the business world, saying they know how to create jobs.
Democrats have also pressed to delay the hearings until the Cabinet picks complete a traditional ethics review demanded by the Office of Government Ethics. There are no indications yet that this push will force the Senate to delay the hearings.
Here are some of the Cabinet choices who will face Senate committees this week: