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House Democrats reintroduce bill to reduce lobbyist influence

House Democrats reintroduce bill to reduce lobbyist influence
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jimmy GomezJimmy GomezDemocrats have a growing tax problem with SALT Hillicon Valley: Twitter says Greene account suspended in error | Justice Dept. indicts hacker connected to massive surveillance breach | Trump reference to 'Chinese virus' linked to increase in anti-Asian hashtags Pelosi says top Democrats won't back measure to expel Greene MORE (D-Calif.) and Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyFDA ends restrictions on mailing abortion pills during pandemic Hillicon Valley: Parler claims it alerted FBI to threats before Capitol riot | Warner presses Zuckerberg to tackle vaccine misinfo on Facebook, Instagram | U.S. schools increasingly resuming in-person learning Parler says it alerted FBI to threats before Capitol riot 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 Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsOvernight Health Care: AstraZeneca may have included outdated data on vaccine trial, officials say | Pelosi says drug pricing measure under discussion for infrastructure package | Biden administration extends special ObamaCare enrollment until August Pelosi: Drug pricing measure under discussion for infrastructure package Bottom line 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.