Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has released a plan for “ethics reform.” Donald Trump would like to “drain the swamp” of “corruption.”
The five-point plan covers one key issue: lobbying. Here is the plan:
DONALD J. TRUMP’S FIVE-POINT PLAN FOR ETHICS REFORM
“It’s Time To Drain The Swamp In Washington, D.C. That’s Why I’m Proposing A Package Of Ethics Reforms To Make Our Government Honest Once Again.” – Donald J. Trump
First: I am going to re-institute a 5-year ban on all executive branch officials lobbying the government for 5 years after they leave government service. I am going to ask Congress to pass this ban into law so that it cannot be lifted by executive order.
Second: I am going to ask Congress to institute its own 5-year ban on lobbying by former members of Congress and their staffs.
Third: I am going to expand the definition of lobbyist so we close all the loopholes that former government officials use by labeling themselves consultants and advisors when we all know they are lobbyists.
Fourth: I am going to issue a lifetime ban against senior executive branch officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
Fifth: I am going to ask Congress to pass a campaign finance reform that prevents registered foreign lobbyists from raising money in American elections.
Not only will we end our government corruption, but we will end the economic stagnation.
The entire plan focuses upon increasing regulation upon lobbyists and increasing the definition of lobbyists. These types of restrictions may have free speech implications.
There is nothing about campaign funding or electioneering. As things stand now, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton opposes the corporate money speech from the Citizens United Supreme Court case while Donald Trump includes the Citizens United leader in his campaign staff.
Republican House representative Walter Jones suggests that Donald Trump join the vast majority of the population [PDF] in opposing the Citizens United decision. Walter Jones told McClatchy:
Democratic nominee for president, Hillary Clinton, has pledged to support a constitutional amendment that would supersede the Citizens United ruling.
“I’m glad that she’s taken that position and I hope that Donald Trump would do the same thing,” Jones told McClatchy in an interview this week. “The citizen is almost left out (of the political process) … I feel very strongly that money drives policy and it should not be that way.”
Jones has been outspoken about what he sees as the pitfalls of money influencing policy and politics. Several times, he’s teamed up with Democrats to introduce bills that would stiffen campaign finance regulations. Republicans and Democrats alike, Jones says, benefit from wealthy individuals and corporations bankrolling campaigns and, in turn, their votes are bought.
A move like this might take the sails out of Hillary Clinton’s most popular political position, as the Citizens United poll above indicates:
A candidate’s position on Citizens United is an important factor for voters. When voters hear descriptions of a Democratic candidate who opposes the Citizens United ruling and a Republican candidate who supports the Citizens United ruling, along with their rationales, voters are overwhelmingly more likely to vote for the Democratic candidate opposed to Citizens United.