Refilling the Swamp? Trump Rescinded The Ethical Lobbying Bar For Aides As He Was Leaving Office

United States Geological Survey

In a column this week, I was recently critical of the pardons issued by former President Donald Trump, including additional figures convicted of different forms of political corruption. For a person who pledged to “drain the swamp,” his pardons show an unprecedented sense of sympathy (and clemency) for those who profiteered in public office. Yet, those pardons pales in comparison to the contradiction in one of Trump’s last acts as President: rescinding his bar on current and former members of his administration from lobbying their respective agencies for five years.

The order required his political appointees to agree to the lobbying ban as a condition for their positions, as well as pledge not to undertake work that would require them to register as a “foreign agent” after leaving government. It was one of the few actual moves to reinforce government ethics in the Administration.  I was critical of the Administration for openly embracing nepotism and tolerating violations of the Hatch Act.

The signing of the one-page revocation of the ethics order on Tuesday before his departure was the ultimate act of cynicism.  President Bill Clinton signed a similar order on his way out the door. What is so striking is how such politicians openly acknowledge that their earlier ethical positions were nothing more than a political ploy.

Biden issued a new rule imposing limitations for least two years after leaving service. That is a terrific start and I am hopeful that Biden will remain faithful to the principle throughout his term.

Of course, Trump is not the first to promise to drain the swamp only to add to its corrupt ecosystem. However, the move shows how voters are played for chumps with these pledges of governmental ethics in Washington.

37 thoughts on “Refilling the Swamp? Trump Rescinded The Ethical Lobbying Bar For Aides As He Was Leaving Office”

  1. The US Loan of 1871, from Vatican via Bank of London, WHEN did that CON-tract end?… If it NEVER ENDED, the US is still a CORPORATION.. Constitutional attorney, surely you know you are flouting a CORPORATION and NOT a ‘sovereign nation’… Please explain, it all looks so contradictory to me… HISTORY knows!… Do you?

  2. Newspapers claim President Trump has now been impeached twice. Did I miss something. Ken Congress alone and peach someone I thought it had to go through the Senate but didn’t listen to the newspapers and I don’t. Please let me know

    1. The House action is the impeachment and the Senate afterward conducts a trial. Trump has been impeached twice, the result of the second impeachment is yet to be determined.

  3. The ban needs to be in the US Code. Without it actually in the law and applying to everyone, no President is going to be serious about such a ban and make sure it continues to apply only to his people after he leaves office. Biden will also get rid of his ban when the time comes. It need to be in the law. But of course neither party in Congress would ever dream of passing such a thing into law.

  4. Possibly the most predictable call ever that trump would drain the swamp by chugging swamp water. Of course, i’m jaded due to having been exposed personally to trump’s practice of not paying subcontractors dating back the late 80’s early 90’s. Now everyone knows why trump couldn’t even have won a seat in city government in NY in ’16.

    Elvis Bug

  5. Yes now that we are no longer a free people but a conquered nation let us please submit to their will. They are still hiding in the dark but their actions before and now are plain to see. My fellow Americans, black ,yellow white we are all in the same boat now. Where the slavers are taking us is unknown but that their intentions are evil and we will pay the pipers price in blood and tears.

  6. Joe Biden’s Executive Orders….First day in office

    The stack of EO’s on Joe’s desk stood about 3 feet high. What are they?

  7. Perhaps Lawyers like Turley, Dershowitz, Powell, Linn, etc…..can step up to the plate and start filing legal actions against these Swamp Dwellers and use the Civil side of the Justice system to achieve some “justice” for us “Chumps”?

    We know the USDOJ and FBI are not going to do it through the Criminal side and Congress damn sure isn’t going to do anything to break their own Rice Bowls so lets see the Lawyers do it.

    What say Professor Turley……not picking on you really but just using you as an example of a capable Lawyer who could make Millions of Dollars winning legal actions against the Swamp Critters.

    Now folks….I shall make a wager….Doughnuts to Dog Droppings and you can hold the stakes in your mouths…..not the first Lawyer shall stand up and go after the Swampers!

  8. Trump capitulated to swamp people who talked him into rescinding the lobbying ban and out of doing the right thing bygranting a pardon to Assange. The rest of Trump’s pardon list was just embarrassing. What a way to go out weak and defeated.

  9. Trump. Bitcoins. Is there a true basis for giving value to a bitcoin? Weight of gold? Some sort of stock market valuation?
    The product or investment seems quite “iffy”.
    Trump coins are coming out soon.

  10. I was critical of the Administration for openly embracing nepotism and tolerating violations of the Hatch Act.

    Your complaints in regard to these two matters were twee, and properly ignored.

    This is a bad bit of business by Trump.

    Here’s a suggestion: debar anyone who has been a federal employee from working for a lobbying firm or for a law firm with a ‘government relations’ practice for a minimum of six years after the conclusion of their federal employment. If their time on the federal payroll has exceeded 22 years, make the minimum equal to 27% of their total time on the payroll. Make it a statutory ban and quit with the shizzy executive orders.

    Please note, you have so much lobbying because (1) people have to defend themselves against the bureaucracy and (2) people who’ve received politically determined incomes want to defend their bon bons. Reduce the amount of favoritism and you reduce the quantum of lobbying. Reduce the amount of discretion that federal regulators wield, you also reduce the amount of lobbying.

    Congress won’t be inclined to fix anything, because they’re sh!tty careerists and their whole lives revolve around brokering government bon bons for their clientele.

  11. You crack me up, Jonathan! Biden has a live-in lobbyist: a guy he’s had the closest of possible of relationships for 50 years,
    who has produced million$ of successes for him and his family! And the best thing about it is that lobbyist is coated with
    teflon: nothing sticks to him no matter how gunky, sticky, ugly and rotten it is.

    1. Good description of the typical Socialist Party from Biden on down to Waters.

  12. I am neither surprised nor disappointed. Trump was only my choice by default.
    I cannot vote for leftists under all but the most dire circumstances. I fled them once but I’m too old run now.

  13. I disagree with your opinion piece, and I don’t feel like a chump because President Trump rescinded the lobbying ban. I think because he was unable to Drain the Swamp as much as we were all hoping, he must have plans to put that to good use and I don’t care if it’s just for him. He was surrounded and beaten by both parties 24/7 for 4 years. I would have thrown my hands up and walked. Biden is already removing many accomplishments Trump made for this country.
    It’s going to take more then ONE man to rid us of the corruption in our government, if it can be. We certainly don’t have a Justice system. Why did Barr leave us without finishing the job? Job to big even for him.

    1. Read pgs 133-134 in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes.

      What they did for liberty, did something rather like it perhaps occur on Jan. 6 for the entrenchment of tyranny?

      Perhaps I am too cynical and suspicious, but I’m not so sure.

    2. With out a doubt operation Hammer has been and is continuing to be used. baker’s testimony removed all doubt. We have J Edgar Hoover type dossiers on people like Barr. It must be something terrible to turn him. His sour looks give away the puppet master pulling his strings.

  14. doesn’t matter – apparently no one will hire them anyway since the mob apparently dictates hiring policy

    1. No one is hiring anyone with the stench of Trump on their resume. There’s no one “dictating” this–Trump was an abject failure–the worst POTUS in US history. Anyone associated with him is radioactive, career-wise.

      1. +10

        This crew is even getting bounced out of LA and film/tv finance at a particularly desperate time due to covid and market realignment.

        Elvis Bug

        1. I saw an interview with a recruiter who places highly-qualified, experienced candidates for mid to upper level positions. He said that no one wants to even consider, much less interview, anyone associated with Trump or Trump companies. No one has “put out the word” on these people, either. Think of this: if you had a company and needed a spokesperson for your brand, would you even interview Kayleigh McAnany?

  15. Industrial strength manipulation. The elites have the high ground. More like a tick with its head dug in.

  16. I live by a swamp. The wildlife is supreme. Oh, some humans don’t like gators. Vice versa. Kinda like Vice President Pence. And what if the swamp is drained? Yeah. You kill lots of critters. But the ground is nasty.

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