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house Bill H.R. 6476

Drain the Swamp: Should Political Appointees be Banned From Lobbying After Leaving Gov’t?

Argument in favor

Political appointees shouldn’t be able to lobby the federal government for at least five years after leaving the executive branch, and should never be able to lobby on behalf of a foreign government.

Alis's Opinion
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12/23/2016
This would actually be MORE EFFECTIVE if it banned former Members of Congress from lobbying after they leave office. When I lived & worked in D.C., it always seemed to me that former members who were unable to let go of power were a shadow government: unseen, uncontrolled, unaccountable. It also was true that the most corrupt & power hungry were the former members who hung around D.C. when they lost an election, not returning to their home States, partly because no one in their state wanted them back & partly because they wanted to amass even more money & power without the watchful eyes of the voters to keep them within the limits of ethical behavior. Congress is good at throwing stones at executive branch officials & VERY BAD at policing itself.
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operaman's Opinion
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12/22/2016
I believe "draining the swamp" starts with lobbyists. In many past studies, those leaving a government paycheck for private employment has acquired the position prior to government termination. These government employees need to be weened off the money teat which is always so accommodating for milking. Five years seems like a reasonable time for weening. If the government employee survived this period, they must be competent in the private sectors and thus suitable for rehiring.
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Vivian's Opinion
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12/22/2016
Special interest groups obscure the intention of the people, which contradicts the nature of government
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Argument opposed

If the federal government is serious about attracting and retaining high caliber political appointees they should lessen restrictions on the post-government careers of those appointees, not make it harder to be a lobbyist.

markweaster's Opinion
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12/24/2016
This bill misses the mark entirely and is merely a short-sighted and partisan attempt to hamstring the next administration without regard to the long-term damage it would do to the system as well as individuals who honorably serve their country. The problem is not proper "lobbying" which is a lawful and beneficial communication of a group's position and is protected by the Constitution. The problem is improper lobbying which seeks to advance a group's position by "buying" votes. This is a pernicious bill and should be replaced by legislation that surgically goes after the bad actors rather than shotgunning an entire class of civil servants.
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Nick's Opinion
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12/24/2016
Read the federalist papers people. Lobbyists are essential to a healthy republic.
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Gregory 's Opinion
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12/24/2016
There should be a preset number of years, like 7, that forbids them from lobbying after leaving their government post.
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What is House Bill H.R. 6476?

This bill — known as the DRAIN the SWAMP Act — would prohibit former executive branch political appointees from lobbying for five years after leaving the federal government and ban them from lobbying for foreign nations for life.

Federal agencies would be able to request hardship waivers for certain positions that are filled by political appointments, which would only be granted if the Office of Government Ethics finds that it’d make it difficult to get qualified personnel to take jobs or wouldn’t create the potential for undue influence.

Under current law, appointees are banned from lobbying for two years after leaving the executive branch which is punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 and/or one year in prison.

The full title for the DRAIN the SWAMP Act is the “Deter-Revolving-door Appointments in our Nation; Stop Washington Appointees from becoming Manipulative Petitioners Act.”

Impact

Political appointees who leave the executive branch.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 6476

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced this bill to ban political appointees from lobbying and allow a campaign promise that President-elect Donald Trump wants to fulfill on day one of his presidency to become law. In a speech on the House floor, DeFazio asked for Trump to endorse his bill before it is reintroduced in the next Congress, adding:

“My bill would make violations of President-Elect Trump’s recently announced revolving door lobbying ban punishable by law… Unfortunately, his proposal lacks any enforcement mechanism. I want this to be more than a press release, I want to help him in this effort… I would extend the existing penalties which apply to very few people over a shorter period of time, the penalties of up to $50,000 and one-year in jail, to cover all of the 3,648 executive branch political appointees.”

This legislation has the support of four cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Glyn Lowe Photoworks)

AKA

Deter Revolving-door Appointments in our Nation; Stop Washington Appointees from becoming Manipulative Petitioners Act

Official Title

To amend the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 and the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 to restrict the lobbying activities of former political appointees, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      The Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedDecember 8th, 2016
    This would actually be MORE EFFECTIVE if it banned former Members of Congress from lobbying after they leave office. When I lived & worked in D.C., it always seemed to me that former members who were unable to let go of power were a shadow government: unseen, uncontrolled, unaccountable. It also was true that the most corrupt & power hungry were the former members who hung around D.C. when they lost an election, not returning to their home States, partly because no one in their state wanted them back & partly because they wanted to amass even more money & power without the watchful eyes of the voters to keep them within the limits of ethical behavior. Congress is good at throwing stones at executive branch officials & VERY BAD at policing itself.
    Like (102)
    Follow
    Share
    This bill misses the mark entirely and is merely a short-sighted and partisan attempt to hamstring the next administration without regard to the long-term damage it would do to the system as well as individuals who honorably serve their country. The problem is not proper "lobbying" which is a lawful and beneficial communication of a group's position and is protected by the Constitution. The problem is improper lobbying which seeks to advance a group's position by "buying" votes. This is a pernicious bill and should be replaced by legislation that surgically goes after the bad actors rather than shotgunning an entire class of civil servants.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    I believe "draining the swamp" starts with lobbyists. In many past studies, those leaving a government paycheck for private employment has acquired the position prior to government termination. These government employees need to be weened off the money teat which is always so accommodating for milking. Five years seems like a reasonable time for weening. If the government employee survived this period, they must be competent in the private sectors and thus suitable for rehiring.
    Like (21)
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    Special interest groups obscure the intention of the people, which contradicts the nature of government
    Like (14)
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    Politics has become a career path to get rich quick. Just look at the deal maker who was elected president. If our leaders don't take a stand against corruption now, this democracy is doomed
    Like (12)
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    The promise of future money from lobbying creates a conflict of interest. Primarily representatives in congress should be concerned with representing their constituents in a just manner, the public good, and the constitution of the U.S. Making a fortune is not compatible with this. Work on Wall Street.
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    Anyone who doesn't agree with this doesn't understand how much the money interest controls this country.
    Like (7)
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    Lobbying should be reserved for those directly involved with the issue, not the current crop of post-government mercenaries.
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    Not only appointees. Elected officials next.
    Like (6)
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    I totally agree with this previous opinion. "This would actually be MORE EFFECTIVE if it banned former Members of Congress from lobbying after they leave office. When I lived & worked in D.C., it always seemed to me that former members who were unable to let go of power were a shadow government: unseen, uncontrolled, unaccountable. It also was true that the most corrupt & power hungry were the former members who hung around D.C. when they lost an election, not returning to their home States, partly because no one in their state wanted them back & partly because they wanted to amass even more money & power without the watchful eyes of the voters to keep them within the limits of ethical behavior. Congress is good at throwing stones at executive branch officials & VERY BAD at policing itself. "
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    Read the federalist papers people. Lobbyists are essential to a healthy republic.
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    Perhaps a better question is why do people listen? The entire lobbying "business" needs some major overhauling. Too much money, too many favors, way too many special interest groups- with a million regulations on almost everything, none seem to apply to the lobbyist industry.
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    When you leave office you should not be able to be a lobbyist for a minimum of five years
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    5 years might not be long enough. I would push for 10 years.
    Like (4)
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    It betters the odds of keeping the swamp creatures out.
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    This issue has absolutely nothing to do with free speech. It has everything to do with conflict of interest. If you believe this is a free speech issue, you're wrong. Plain and simple.
    Like (3)
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    There should be a preset number of years, like 7, that forbids them from lobbying after leaving their government post.
    Like (3)
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    This has gotten out of hand. End it.
    Like (3)
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    This bill allows President Elect Trump to fulfill one of his campaign pledges -- to begin to "drain the swamp" created by too many professional lobbyists. It should be passed on a bi-partisan basis.
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    Absolutely, if we want a functioning legitimate democracy, we must abolish lobbyists altogether. Do the masses of people have lobbying firms that represent them? No! Only those with the huge capital to pay them do. Which is inherently undemocratic.
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