Shutting the Revolving Door of Lobbyist Influence in Washington is Aim of Tester’s Legislation
Senator’s legislation would ban Members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists
As a part of his long-standing efforts to increase transparency and accountability in Congress, U.S. Senator Jon Tester will reintroduce legislation today to shut the revolving door in Washington by banning Members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists.
“I came to the Senate to fight for working families and defend our Montana way of life, and I don’t think any Member of Congress should cash out on the privilege of public service,” said Tester. “It’s past time that we slam shut the revolving door that has allowed too many folks in Washington to use their elected office as a stepping stone toward high-paying lobbying jobs for special interests, instead of advocating for the people they represent. I’m calling on my colleagues to join me in supporting this commonsense legislation to bring the level of transparency and accountability to Congress that Montanans and Americans deserve.”
“Too many members of Congress and their staff have abused public office by treating it as a launching pad for their next high-paying job. This culture is deeply embedded and normalized in Washington–and it is ripe for corruption,” said Tiffany Muller, President of End Citizens United // Let America Vote Action Fund. “The Close the Revolving Door Act is commonsense legislation aimed at ending this practice so that members of Congress and their staff stay focused on doing the people’s work. We applaud Senator Tester for his continued leadership on making government work for regular people.”
“Public Citizen applauds Senator Tester for his introduction of the Close the Revolving Door Act,”said Lisa Gilbert, Executive Vice President of Public Citizen. “The outsized influence of lobbyists is a problem that must be dealt with, and this bold legislation gets right to the heart of the revolving door and transparency limitations of our current influence-peddling laden system. With this legislation in place, Senators and their staff will no longer be able to trade on their former connections and access to push priorities for clients, and the public will have a clearer picture of the lobbying landscape.”
Under the current rules, after leaving office, Senators are prohibited from lobbying for two years and Congressmen are prohibited from lobbying for one year. However, the Center for Responsive Politics has found that more than 460 former members of Congress are currently lobbyists employed by lobbying firms, using their previous office as a stepping stone to represent the corporations and special interest trying to influence the government.
Tester’s Close the Revolving Door Act would implement a lifetime ban on Members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists. Additionally, Tester’s legislation would:
- Increase the statutory staff restrictions on lobbying from one year to six years;
- Bans lobbyists from working for Members of Congress and Committees with whom they had a substantial lobbying contact in the previous six years;
- Create a website entitled “lobbyists.gov” that will provide easily searchable disclosures on lobbying activities;
- Increase disclosures requirements for lobbying firms that pay former Members of Congress or senior congressional staff to provide paid consulting services; and
- Increases penalties for violating the Lobbying Disclosure Act from $200,000 to $500,000
Tester has been a long-standing champion for good governance reforms throughout his time in the Senate. Last week, Tester reintroduced legislation to require members of Congress to post their daily schedules online, including all events and meetings attended in their official capacity. Tester was the first, and remains one of the only, Members of Congress to publicly post his schedule on his website starting in 2007.
The first two bills that Tester introduced this Congress were aimed at getting dark money out of politics and overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. He also supported legislation to ban stock trading in Congress to further boost the accountability of Members of Congress.
You can read the text of Tester’s Close the Revolving Door Act HERE.