GOP lawmaker proposes lifetime lobbying ban

Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa) introduced legislation on Tuesday to prevent members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists after they leave office.

Blum, a freshman lawmaker, argued his bill would help limit lobbyists' influence on the legislative process so members of Congress won't feel pressured to cater to their wishes for their own self-interest.

"This bill would finally close the revolving door between Congress and special interest groups, restoring integrity to our political system and ensuring that politicians focus on representing their constituents instead of catering to lobbying groups who offer a lucrative post-electoral career," Blum said in a statement.

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"This lifetime ban on lobbying is another step in that effort to make Congress more accountable to the people by reducing the incentive for our elected officials to use their position for their own personal gain," Blum added.

Current law requires House members to wait at least a year after leaving office before becoming lobbyists. Former senators, meanwhile, must wait at least two years.

Blum's bill, if enacted, would not apply retroactively.

Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet (Colo.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) introduced a similar measure last year to impose a lobbying ban, but it never received legislative action.

The Center for Responsive Politics found that more than half of the former members of the 111th and 112th sessions of Congress who found new jobs had become either lobbying clients or joined lobbying firms.

Blum has also supported legislation this year to prevent members of Congress from flying first class and established the Congressional Term Limits Caucus.