“Crony capitalism gives us special interest tax breaks, custom-designed regulations and special exemptions for favored parties.” So said the Republican platform adopted this past summer at the Republican convention, which called for an end to cronyism and the sweetheart deals between private interests and government.
These sentiments were echoed by candidate Donald Trump throughout his run for the presidency, (“The choice in this election is a choice between taking our government back from the special interests, or surrendering our last scrap of independence to their total and complete control.”) However, President-elect Trump said during his first 60 Minutes interview that he lacks a plan to “phase out” the rigged system or extensive lobbying and outside interests influencing the government.
The president-elect has gotten off to a rocky start when it comes to his transition team which is packed with the lobbyists and special interests that he railed against throughout election.
One thing that is clear from the post-election autopsies is that the American people yearn for change, not more of the Washington-as-usual government, whether under the Republican or Democratic banner. Moreover, because President-elect Trump did not win the popular vote, he faces an even steeper challenge in gaining public confidence.
That’s why Issue One is recommending the following series of immediate actions for the Trump administration to take to “drain the swamp” in Washington. With a sharply divided electorate, it is imperative for the president-elect to harness the anger and alienation of the American people and immediately take bold actions to demonstrate the Washington swamp can be drained.
- Convene meetings on Capitol Hill with Republicans and Democrats to begin discussion regarding legislative proposals to address Washington dysfunction.
- Issue an executive order to continue the policies put in place by the previous administration regarding the role of lobbyists in the Trump Administration.
- Adopt a policy that states that Trump Administration cabinet secretaries will not attend political fundraisers while in office.
- Convene a blue-ribbon, bipartisan panel of respected leaders and retired Administrative Law Judges to identify and make public recommendations for individuals to be nominated to the Federal Election Commission and nominate new commissioners to the Federal Election Commission, who will vigorously enforce the law, to fill the seats of commissioners currently serving on expired terms.
- Appoint a new chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission who supports implementing appropriate disclosure for corporate political expenditures.
- Appoint a new chair of the Federal Communications Commission who supports enforcing existing statutes and regulations governing the disclosure of the sponsors of political advertisements, particularly those requiring the public disclosure of the “true identity of the sponsor.”
- Immediately appoint an Ethics Counsel to review executive branch ethics policies and strengthen the ethics standards put in place by the previous administration.
- Establish a strong firewall between the Trump administration and the president-elect’s business interests, and publicly describe how the barrier will operate.
- Propose legislation to offer a robust tax rebate for small-dollar contributions to incentivize more participation by ordinary Americans and reduce the need for Members of Congress to spend time fundraising.
- Support the Restoring Integrity to America’s Elections Act to address the gridlock at the Federal Election Commission. This legislation, introduced in the 114th Congress by Representatives Kilmer (D-WA), Renacci (R-OH), Carney (D-DE) and Barletta (R-PA), would reduce the number of commissioners to an odd number and create a chair to serve a 10-year term.
- Propose legislation to update the Lobbying Disclosure Act along the lines of the bipartisan recommendations from the Task Force on Lobbying Disclosure of the American Bar Association. The recommendations include strengthening the law to ensure people influencing public policy are appropriately registered and that the disclosures provide more accurate information about paid lobbying efforts.