Posted by 16 September 2019
Today Sen. Elizabeth Warren outlined a proposal that she says is necessary to fight corruption in the federal government.
Her plan calls for a variety of reforms to federal laws, including:
- Mandating that the president and vice president place their assets in a blind trust to be sold.
- Disclosing automatically the tax returns of candidates for federal office, including the president and vice president.
- Requiring senior government officials to divest from assets that could pose a conflict-of-interest.
- Banning members of Congress from trading in individual stocks while in office.
- Prohibiting members of congress and senior congressional staff from serving on corporate boards.
- Banning lobbyists from serving in government within two years of ending their lobbying career.
- Prohibiting members of Congress and some federal officials from ever taking a job as a lobbyist after their time in the government is over.
- Mandating the disclosure of financial information for federal judges and imposing a code of conduct on these judges.
- Extending lobbying restrictions to anyone who is “paid to influence lawmakers.”
- Banning lobbyists from representing foreign entities.
- Prohibiting lobbyists from donating to political candidates or fundraise for them.
- Banning forced arbitration clauses and mandatory class action waivers.
According to Sen. Warren, President Trump’s Administration has shown the weakness of federal anti-corruption laws. Many of her proposals are aimed explicitly at practices that she says are weakening our government under President Trump. Other proposals are older ideas that liberals have long pushed for, such as the ending of forced arbitration clauses.
Critics of her plan note that many of her ideas, such as prohibiting lobbyists from contributing to candidates, would likely run afoul of the Constitution. They also point to these plans as being a vast expansion of federal power over political speech and activity.
Sen. Warren has sponsored similar legislation during her time in the Senate. This plan is an updated version that is part of her platform as she runs for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Do you think that the federal government should prohibit lobbyist from contributing to candidates? Should the IRS automatically release the tax returns of anyone running for federal office, from presidential candidates to members of Congress?