Cicilline Seeks to Ban Former Members of Congress from Lobbying

Feb 7, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to restore the public’s confidence in government and reduce the influence of special interests in Washington, U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI) reintroduced legislation that would prohibit former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists.  

Under current law, U.S. Senators are precluded from lobbying Members of Congress for two years after leaving office and members of the U.S. House of Representatives are prohibited from the same activity for a period of one year after leaving office.  Cicilline’s bill, H.R. 4014, would greatly expand the scope of current law – instituting a lifetime ban on former Members of Congress, both Senators and Representatives, from engaging in lobbying contacts with covered executive branch officials, or any Member, officer, or employee of either House of Congress.  

“People should be motivated to run for office because they believe in public service not because they expect a big payoff when the leave office,” said Cicilline, a member of the Judiciary Committee.  “This ban will ensure that our elected representatives will make decisions in the best interests of their constituents instead of making decisions which could pay dividends for them outside of Congress.” 

Penalties for violations under Cicilline’s legislation, which has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, would remain the same as current law, which exacts a fine of up to $50,000 and/or imprisonment of not more than one year.

In Congress Cicilline has worked to bring equality and fairness back to the electoral process.  He is an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Government by the People Act, which would reduce the influence of big money in politics by reforming  our nation’s campaign finance laws.  Additionally, Cicilline cosponsored the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act to reverse the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.  This 2010 landmark decision held that unlimited corporate spending in elections was permitted and has opened the floodgates to previously restricted corporate spending in political campaigns.