Society

Democratic Senator Introduces Bill To 'Drain the Swamp'

| by Robert Fowler

A Democratic lawmaker has introduced legislation that would place a five-year hold on former lawmakers before they can lobby in Congress. The bill goes further than an executive order signed by President Donald Trump to follow through on his campaign promise to "drain the swamp."

On Mar. 3, Democratic Sen, Jon Tester of Montana announced new legislation that would prohibit newly retired congress members from lobbying in Capitol Hill for five years. The bill would also prohibit executive officials from registering as lobbyists for the same length of time after retiring, The Hill reports.

"This legislation will hold public servants accountable and ensure folks in Congress and in the Administration are thinking about what's best for our country -- not what's best for their wallets," Tester said.

Trump had pledged on the campaign trail to root out lobbyist corruption in Washington, D.C. On Jan. 28, the president signed an executive action that placed a five-year prohibition on former officials lobbying for the agency in which they had previously worked. The directive did not prohibit them from lobbying other departments.

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The executive order had also scaled back some of the lobbying rules put in place by former President Barack Obama in 2009.

Obama's order had barred anyone who had been registered a lobbyist in the preceding year from working in the administration and prohibited any officials from contacting their former agencies for two years. Meanwhile, the Trump directive allows for lobbyists to work in agencies that they had not sought to influence within the last two years and reduces the prohibition on officials contacting their former lobbying agencies to just one year, according to Politico.

On Feb. 28, Trump touted his new executive action during his first address before a joint session of Congress.

"We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a five-year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials and a lifetime ban on becoming lobbyists for a foreign government," Trump said, according to TPM.

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While Trump's executive ban included several exceptions, Tester's ban would apply to all lawmakers and executive officials.

"Draining the swamp in Washington is one of the issues where the president and I agree," Tester said.

Government affairs lobbyist Craig Holman of Public Citizen praised Tester's bill, asserting that it would be highly effective in rooting out corruption in Washington, D.C.

"Senator Tester's legislation imposing a five-year ban on former lawmakers lobbying Congress and administration officials lobbying the executive branch goes a long way toward cooling off the monetary value of those insider connections," Holman said.

Sources: The Hill, Politico, TPM / Photo credit: Senator Claire McCaskill/Flickr

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