Issue One Statement on President Trump’s Lobbying Executive Order

This statement has been updated following a review of the executive order on ethics signed by President Trump. 

“At first blush, today’s executive order on ethics signed by President Trump mirrors much of what was contained in the previous order signed by President Obama. However, there are two very significant differences,” said Meredith McGehee, chief of policy, programs and strategy at Issue One. “First, the previous order included a provision which stated that a lobbyist would not for two years after being in the administration ‘seek or accept employment with any executive agency that I lobbied within the 2 years before the date of my appointment.’  That is missing from President Trump’s order he signed today. The constraint on bringing lobbyists into the administration is gone. Second, the restrictions under the Obama Administration on communications with employees of one’s former agency does not include a hard 2-year restriction after administrative officials end of service.

If President Trump and the 115th Congress are serious about returning government to the American people, they must update the Lobbying Disclosure Act. For more than a decade, those seeking to evade registering as lobbyists have artfully found loopholes in the current law. The most substantive update to the LDA was proposed by the American Bar Association and a bipartisan group of experts including President Reagan’s Solicitor General Charles Fried. This is a framework for reform that both parties can agree on. At the same time, Issue One remains concerned that lawmakers like Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) have President Trump’s ear while they seek to remove limits on campaign contributions. It is important for the president to take steps to ensure that average Americans are no longer drowned out by the billions of dollars spent buying and selling access and influence in Washington.” 

Issue One Executive Director Nick Penniman said, “Americans are distraught about the future of health care, their jobs and our country’s place on the world stage. President Trump stated during his inaugural address, ‘We must think big and dream even bigger.’ At this moment, President Trump needs to be bolder in taking on the root causes of why Washington lawmakers collectively spent more than one million hours last cycle raising money and treat Congress as a path to self-enrichment. Our government must return to the bedrock principles that founded this country.” 

If President Trump truly wants to change the practice of “the establishment protecting itself, but not the citizens of our country,” as he said in his inaugural address, he should look at Issue One’s legislative policy framework that was endorsed by a working group of our ReFormers Caucus, the largest bipartisan group of former elected officials ever assembled on behalf of ethics and government reform issues.

UPDATED: This statement was updated at 7:10pm ET.