Cicilline, Loebsack Re-Introduce Lifetime Lobbying Ban for Former Members of Congress

Jun 5, 2019

WASHINGTON – Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC) Chair David N. Cicilline (RI-01) and U.S. Congressman Dave Loebsack (IA-02) today re-introduced their proposal to ban former Members of Congress from ever working as registered federal lobbyists.

 

“Washington is broken.  People have lost faith that the federal government is working on their behalf and instead is advancing the interests of powerful corporate special interests.  This problem is made worse by the revolving door between Congress and big lobbying firms,” said Cicilline. “This legislation will help restore the public's confidence that government is serving their interests by permanently banning former Members of Congress from engaging in lobbying.  It's simple, if you have the privilege of serving in Congress, when your service is concluded you can’t leave to go lobby for some special interest. If we are serious about fixing what’s wrong in Washington, then we need to pass this bill.”

 

“In order to truly reform Washington, and restore the public’s faith in government, we have to stop the revolving door between Congress and K Street. Members of Congress should be working hard on behalf of the people they represent and not be auditioning for a high-paying lobbyist job,” said Loebsack. “For the past 8 years I have proudly joined with Rep. Cicilline to introduce legislation to permanently ban Members of Congress from cashing in on their elected responsibilities and ever becoming lobbyists. I came to Washington for one reason - to serve the people of Iowa. Sadly, far too often people come to just cash in. For the good of our country, that must come to an end.”

 

According to one estimate, fewer than 150 lobbyists worked in Washington, D.C. in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Today, there are more than 11,000 registered federal lobbyists, including 430 former Members of Congress.

 

More than $3 billion is spent each year on federal lobbying. This explosion in the influence of lobbyists working for special interests has coincided with a total breakdown in Congress’s ability to deliver results for the American people.

 

Under current law, U.S. Senators cannot work as lobbyists for two years after leaving office. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are prohibited for just half that time. 

 

The Cicilline-Loebsack proposal imposes a lifetime ban on former Members of Congress, both Senators and U.S. Representatives, from engaging in lobbying contacts with covered executive branch officials, or any Member, officer, or employee of either House of Congress. 

 

The bill sets a penalty of a fine of up to $50,000 and/or imprisonment of not more than one year for violations of the lifetime ban.