Bipartisan Bill Would Close the Revolving Door of Lobbyist Influence in Washington
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) today reintroduced legislation to shut the revolving door of lobbyist influence in Washington by banning members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists.
“Americans should be confident that their elected leaders go to Washington to represent them, not to audition for high-paying lobbying jobs for special interests,” said Bennet. “We have been careless with the American people’s trust in our democracy, and this reform would go a long way toward restoring it. For the privilege of serving in the United States Congress, members should accept a ban on lobbying.”
“I’m proud to work with Senator Bennet to restore faith in government and ensure elected leaders are truly serving the people they represent,” said Gardner. “By blocking Members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists following their time in office, this legislation will bring the transparency and accountability to elected officials that Coloradans expect and deserve.”
“Truly draining the swamp means pulling the plug on politicians trying to cash in on their public service,” said Tester. “This bill is simple—it bans members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, ensuring we’re 100% committed to the folks we represent, not special interests.”
The Center for Responsive Politics has found that, of all former members of the 115th Congress now working, 50 percent are employed by lobbying firms.
To help restore public confidence in government, the Close the Revolving Door Act of 2019 would:
- Ban current members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists;
- Increase the statutory staff restrictions on lobbying from one year to six years;
- Ban lobbyists from joining Congressional staffs or committee staffs that they have lobbied for six years;
- Create a more accessible website, “Lobbyists.gov,” for public reporting of lobbying activities;
- Require substantial lobbying entities to report on the non-lobbyist employees they have who are former members of Congress or former senior congressional staff, and describe those employees' job responsibilities; and
- Increase the maximum penalty for violating the Lobbying Disclosure Act.
By strengthening disclosure and accountability, the Close the Revolving Door Act will limit the undue influence of lobbyists in Washington and help inform the public about the thicket of special interests working to influence our democracy. Bennet has repeatedly introduced a lifetime lobbying ban for Members of Congress since 2010.
A summary of the bill is available HERE.
Since coming to the Senate in 2009, Bennet has proposed several reforms to fix our broken politics, including a bipartisan proposal with Senator Gardner to force senators to stay in the Senate chamber if they shut down the government; a bicameral proposal to ban the solicitation of campaign contributions from lobbyists when Congress is in session; legislation to ban partisan gerrymandering, which at the time was the only federal legislation to do so explicitly; and a constitutional amendment with Senator Tester to overturn Citizens United v. FEC.