As it turns out, “drain the swamp” wasn’t just a catchy bit of boilerplate campaign phraseology for Donald Trump. The president-elect really intends to dry out the morass that is Washington, D.C., and he’s starting with the stranglehold of lobbyists.
According to Politico, the Trump administration is requiring all incoming administration officials to give up their lobbying registrations. Also, anyone who signs on to an administration position must refrain from lobbying for five years after their employment in the White House.
A document released Wednesday showed the extent to which the Trump administration was dedicated to cracking down on lobbyists. A pledge that incoming employees must sign, it read: “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.”
On a conference call, Republican National Committee chief strategist Sean Spicer argued that the Trump administration’s crackdown on lobbyists was necessary to stop corruption in Washington.
“The key thing for this administration is going to be that people going out of government won’t be able to use that service to enrich themselves,” Spicer said.
“After the call, he rejected a suggestion that the post-employment ban could hinder the transition team’s ability to recruit qualified applicants,” Politico reported. One wonders what we’ve come to as a country if anyone thinks that a “qualified” government employee is an individual who plans to use the position to ingratiate himself with moneyed lobbying interests for post-administration employment.
While it’s impossible to judge how Trump will be able to tackle corruption in D.C. in the long run, Americans of all political stripes should be thrilled that a president finally had the chutzpah to crack down on the malignant growth of lobbyists in Washington. If he can manage to maintain this momentum, #DrainTheSwamp is going to become more than just a hashtag.
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