Elections

Drain the swamp? Democratic lawmaker wants to enforce Trump plan

Construction continues on the Inaugural platform in preparation for the Inauguration and swearing-in ceremonies for President-elect Donald Trump, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, on the Capitol steps in Washington. Trump will be sworn in a president on Jan. 20, 2017.
Construction continues on the Inaugural platform in preparation for the Inauguration and swearing-in ceremonies for President-elect Donald Trump, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, on the Capitol steps in Washington. Trump will be sworn in a president on Jan. 20, 2017. AP

A Democratic lawmaker is introducing legislation that he says will help President-elect Donald Trump carry out his campaign promise to “drain the swamp.”

The archly named Drain the Swamp Act – or Deter Revolving-Door Appointments in Our Nation; Stop Washington Appointees from becoming Manipulative Petitioners – would put Trump’s executive branch proposal to curb influence peddling into law and would carry penalties.

Trump has said he wants to clean up the federal government by stopping the revolving door that allows White House officials to cash in on their government service by banning ex-Trump administration officials from lobbying for five years after leaving the administration. They’d also be banned for life from lobbying for foreign nations.

But, as Rep. Peter DeFazio, R-Oregon, noted on the House floor, Trump’s executive action “lacks any enforcement mechanism” because there are no penalties.

The bill would “put some teeth behind his promise,” DeFazio said.

The proposal is highly unlikely to attract much support in the Republican-led chamber, but did allow DeFazio the opportunity to stand on the House floor and say he’d look to hold Trump to his promise.

The bill would impose a five-year ban, barring anyone who serves as a political appointee from lobbying for five years after they leave the executive branch. It would also permanently bar any individual appointed to the Trump administration from lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.

“President-elect Trump ran on the promise of ‘Draining the Swamp,’” DeFazio said. “The American people elected him with the expectation that he would bring a new way of doing business to Washington.”

Current administration appointees are now barred by law from lobbying for two years after they leave the executive branch, with a penalty of up to one year in prison and/or a fine of $50,000, DeFazio said. His bill would call for a penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.

DeFazio said he plans to send the legislation to Trump “so he has an opportunity to endorse the bill” before he re-introduces it when the new Congress takes office in January.

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