Lifetime lobbying ban for lawmakers picks up Tester's backing

The Hill

by Michael O'Brien

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) signed onto legislation on Monday to permanently bar lawmakers from becoming lobbyists after leaving Congress.

Sen. Michael Bennet's (D-Colo.) "Close the Revolving Door Act," which would extend the one-year ban on lawmakers becoming lobbyists to a lifetime ban, got the support of Tester, a centrist Senate Democrat.

“When Montanans sent me to the Senate, I imposed strict ethics rules on myself and my staff because Montanans expect open and honest government,” Tester said in a statement. “It’s about time for all of Congress to make sure decisions are being made based on what’s right for our country, not based on who hires well-connected lobbyists.”

In addition to the ban on lawmakers heading to K Street, it would reverse the flow of employment the other way by preventing a member of Congress or committee from hiring a lobbyist who'd lobbied that lawmaker or committee within the past six years.

The bill also enhances the penalties for individuals convicted of offenses to the lobbying law.