Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat Left laughs off floated changes to 2024 ticket MORE is backing legislation that would crack down on the “revolving door” between Wall Street and Washington.
In a joint op-ed with Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinBiden stiff arms progressives on the Postal Service Overnight Energy & Environment — Lummis holds up Biden EPA picks Dems block Cruz's Nord Stream 2 sanctions bill MORE (D-Wis.), Clinton announced her strong support for Baldwin’s legislation that would place further restrictions on the relationship between powerful private institutions and the top ranks of the federal government.
“The American people need to be able to trust that every single person in Washington — from the President of the United States all the way down to agency employees — is putting the interests of the people first,” the pair wrote in The Huffington Post.
Clinton joins challengers for the Democratic presidential nomination in backing Baldwin’s legislation, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley have already signaled support.
But Clinton’s approval marks another step from her to assuage the left that she is not too close to the financial sector, and willing to back efforts to curb the sector’s attempts to influence public policy. Liberal groups had publicly pushed Clinton just days earlier to support the legislation.
Baldwin’s bill, which was introduced in July, is aimed at the criticism that too often, powerful people in the private sector move to top government roles that require them to exert influence on their previous field, at the same time regulators leave government work to immediately take jobs with private companies that they once oversaw.
The legislation would outlaw “golden parachutes” that private firms sometimes provide to employees who leave the business to take on a high-ranking government position. Critics argued these bonuses, often found in the financial industry, are an effort to ensure firms are able to curry favor from former employees now at key positions in the federal government.
“If you're working for the government, you're working for the people — not for an oil company, drug company, or Wall Street bank or money manager,” Clinton and Baldwin wrote.
This payment structure was a key piece of a pitched battle between the Obama administration and liberal lawmakers over President Obama’s nomination of Antonio Weiss to take on a top Treasury Department role.
Liberal lawmakers, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), criticized the nomination of Weiss, a longtime banker at Lazard. Beyond the broad argument that too many government positions are filled by individuals with ties to Wall Street, they criticized Weiss’s work on corporate inversions — a tax maneuver criticized by the president — and an arrangement that would see Weiss make as much as $21 million if he left for government work.
Weiss eventually withdrew his nomination to be under secretary for domestic finance, and now has an advisory role in the Treasury.
Baldwin’s bill would also double the length in time, from one year to two, that government officials must recuse themselves from any cases involving former employers, as well as require government officials to wait two years before joining a company they once regulated.
The legislation has garnered support from several liberal and labor groups, including the AFL-CIO and Americans for Financial Reform. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) has introduced companion legislation in the House.