Craig Seeks Lifetime Ban On Lobbying By Former Members Of Congress
Freshmen Get It Done Series

July 11, 2019 by Elin Johnson

In our new series, Freshmen Get it Done, The Well News will be highlighting legislative accomplishments by freshman Members of Congress from both parties.

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WASHINGTON – Representative Angie Craig, D-Minn., has proposed legislation that would ban former Members of Congress from lobbying after they leave elected public service.

“A lifetime ban on lobbying will ensure that Congress is no longer a revolving door of influence,” Craig said of her bill.

But The Halt Unchecked Member Benefits with Lobbying Elimination Act, as Craig’s legislation is called, also seeks to address a number of other issues Craig sees as problematic.

The bill’s provisions would prohibit members from holding stock in companies, ban former members of Congress from using congressional facilities, and prevent current members from purchasing first-class airline tickets with taxpayer funds.

Craig hasn’t been alone in trying to curb excesses in the House. A number of senators have called for a lifetime ban on lobbying, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Mike Braun, R-Ind.

In January, Representative Rob Wittman, R-Va., introduced a bill to ban first-class travel by members.

“When traveling for official business, members of Congress should not have special privileges,” Rep. Wittman said in a statement at the time. “If members are using taxpayer money to fly, they should fly like most taxpayers. When I travel, I fly coach because I believe being in Congress is about public service, not abusing hard-earned American tax dollars.”

Like Representative Craig, Senators Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Sharrod Brown, D-Ohio, have also sought to curb Wall Street investment by members of Congress.

In 2006 a law passed that prevented former members who were lobbyists from using some House facilities. In some cases, lobbyists can be fined for lobbying without a badge.

According to the organization Public Citizen, two-thirds of the members of Congress who left the body at the end of the 115th Congress, which ended on January 3, 2019, are now lobbyists. 

Since coming to Congress this year, Representative Craig has made government transparency and integrity a primary focus of her office.

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