TIME Donald Trump

The First Steps to ‘Drain the Swamp’

One of the cornerstones of the President-elect’s campaign was a promise to crack down on Washington special interests. While Trump has arguably violated the spirit of this pledge already–by naming a transition team studded with corporate lobbyists–his push for ethics-reform legislation presents a rare chance for bipartisan agreement with congressional Democrats. “The things that he said about ‘draining the swamp’ and about lobbyists,” said Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, “are things that we would tend to support.” Some steps can be done immediately by executive order, but legislation will be required to make them permanent. Here are three areas Trump has identified as priorities for ethics reform:


Trump wants to impose a five-year ban on former executive-branch officials registering as lobbyists. President Obama also imposed a ban on his hires, restricting them from lobbying the executive branch for the duration of his presidency.


Trump supports barring former members of Congress and their staffs from lobbying activities until they’ve been out of government for five years. Current laws require a one-year “cooling-off period” for House members and two years for Senators.


The President-elect says he wants to permanently block former senior employees of the executive branch from lobbying on behalf of foreign governments. Trump also wants to stop registered foreign lobbyists from raising money in U.S. elections.

This appears in the November 28, 2016 issue of TIME.
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