House Democrats reintroduce bill to reduce lobbyist influence

House Democrats reintroduce bill to reduce lobbyist influence
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jimmy GomezJimmy GomezEviction ruling puts new pressure on Congress 'The Squad' celebrates Biden eviction moratorium Democrats face daunting hurdles despite promising start MORE (D-Calif.) and Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyOvernight Defense & National Security: US-Australian sub deal causes rift with France Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels Oversight Republicans seek testimony from Afghanistan watchdog MORE (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, have reintroduced a bill to reduce the influence of lobbyists and to close the so-called revolving door.

The bill, the Executive Branch Conflict of Interest Act, was first introduced by the late Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsFormer GOP congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik suing Candace Owens for defamation Former Cummings staffer unveils congressional bid McCarthy, GOP face a delicate dance on Jan. 6 committee MORE (D-Md.) in 2019. The bill would ban companies from making “golden parachute” payments that reward former employees for joining the government and strengthen recusal requirements to stop senior government officials from acting in ways that benefit former employers or clients. 

The bill was included in H.R. 1, the Democrats’ wide-ranging bill that passed the House in March but was not taken up in the Senate. Gomez introduced it again in May.

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It would also strengthen restrictions prohibiting former federal officials from joining a private sector contracting firm after participating in awarding a contract to that company and prohibit senior government officials from lobbying the agencies they worked for once they leave for two years. Restrictions are currently in place for one year. 

“The greed and corruption that has come to define the Trump presidency — particularly the conduct of Cabinet members, high-ranking officials, and the president himself — has further stressed the importance of transparency and accountability within the Executive Branch,“ Gomez said in a statement.

Gomez also noted that the bill honors the legacy of Cummings. Cummings, who served more than two decades in Congress, died in October 2019 from health complications.

“Abuses by Trump Administration officials highlighted the need to strengthen ethics laws,” Maloney said. “This bill includes reforms that will strengthen accountability for executive branch officials and slow the revolving door.