Sen. Elizabeth Warren has introduced the “Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act,” which is designed to strengthen lobbying disclosure regulations and ban Americans from lobbying for foreign governments.
Her goal is to “eliminate the influence of money in our federal government and ensure that it works for American families.”
In an Aug. 21 National Press Club speech, Warren noted that trust in government dropped from 73 percent in 1958 to 18 percent today, according to the National Election Survey polls.
“A loss of faith this broad, and this profound is more than a problem—it is a crisis. A crisis of faith,” she said.
Warren wants to “padlock the revolving door” and increase public integrity by instituting a lifetime ban on lobbying by the president, cabinet secretaries, members of Congress, federal judges and other senior government officials.
The legislation also would prohibit government officials from owning and trading individual stocks.
Warren would expand the definition of lobbyist to include anyone who gets paid to influence the government.
She also would put the brakes on foreign lobbying activity. “The trial of Donald Trump’s campaign manager has exposed how foreign governments hide their efforts to influence the American government through lobbying,” she told the NPC. “We should ban Americans from getting paid to lobby for foreign governments—period. If foreign governments want to express their views, they can use their diplomats.”
Warren’s bill would end what she calls “legalized lobbyist bribery,” by prohibiting lobbyists from writing campaign checks or giving personal gifts to anyone running for or holding a federal office.
The Senator knows that her legislation faces tough opposition.
“I'm sure the people who make big money off the current system will yell and scream and spend millions of dollars trying to stop these changes,” she told the NPC. “And the all-day-long pundits and Washington insiders who live in the same neighborhoods and eat at the same sushi bars and go to the same book parties will say ‘this will never pass' and try to color me naïve for even trying.”
She said that’s the negative thinking that allowed corruption to spread through Washington for decades.
Warren vowed to fight for as many of her reforms as possible.
“I believe we can break the stranglehold that the wealthy and well-connected hold over our government, she said. “I believe we can get our democracy working again.”