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Nate Jackson / November 29, 2016

Trump’s Swamp-Draining Lobbyist Ban

You know, the one Clinton rescinded on the way out of office.

When campaigning, Donald Trump promised to enact a five-year ban on executive employees becoming government lobbyists to “drain the swamp” of special interest groups. He took the first step in that direction by announcing that anyone joining the transition team or the administration will pledge: “By signing below I hereby certify that I am not currently registered and reporting as a federal lobbyist as defined by the Lobbying Disclosure Act as amended or as a compensated lobbyist at the state level in any state. If I was listed as lobbyist in the most recent lobbying disclosure forms or reported to be filed by federal or state law, I hereby notify the president-elect’s transition team that I have filed the necessary forms to the appropriate government agency to terminate my [lobbying registration]. I will provide the transition team with written evidence of my federal or state lobbyist termination as soon as possible.”

Trump plans to enact a broader prohibition on administration officials and senior government agency employees prohibiting them from lobbying either the U.S. or a foreign government for five years after leaving government service. Lobbying has become a virtual pension plan for State Department principals once leaving office. (See: Hillary Clinton.) The effectiveness of this policy will depend on closing loopholes — and lobbyists are adept at finding those — but Trump is serious. Notably, the ban is similar to one enacted by Bill Clinton in 1993 … except that Bill rescinded that ban on his way out the door in December 2000. And we all know how rich the Clintons became after leaving the White House “dead broke.”

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