Presidential Candidates and Lobbying–Where They Sit

WITH THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL campaign season fully underway, the candidates have begun to outline their vision for the future of the country. In a policy speech in Tallahassee, Fla. on Monday, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush outlined a series of reforms that he would enact if elected president. Among the policies that were announced by Bush were reforms for the lobbying industry, saying, “If I am elected president, I will use all of my influence to enact into law an immediate, unequivocal six-year ban on lobbying — a full Senate term — for ex-members of the House and Senate,” reports Politico. The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA), which was signed into law by Jeb’s older brother President George W. Bush in 2007, currently requires Senators to undergo a two year cooling off period and  members of the House of Representatives to undergo a one year cooling off period. Jeb also voiced support to force members of Congress to post details of any meetings with lobbyists online.

Other 2016 presidential candidates have also voiced similar opinions on lobbying. In his announcement speech, George Pataki announced, “Today, there is one former member of Congress lobbying for every current member and the first thing I would do is ban members of Congress from ever lobbying. If you serve one day, you are banned, go home.” Donald Trump also called the lobbying industry out saying, They [Politicians] will never make America great again. They don’t even have a chance. They’re controlled fully — they’re controlled fully by the lobbyists, by the donors, and by the special interests, fully. Yes, they control them. Hey, I have lobbyists. I have to tell you. I have lobbyists that can produce anything for me. They’re great. But you know what? It won’t happen. It won’t happen. Because we have to stop doing things for some people, but for this country, it’s destroying our country. We have to stop, and it has to stop now.”

What effect does this type of statement have on their campaign contributions from lobbyists? None. In February Bush raised more than $250,000 for his Right to Rise super PAC headlining a fundraiser hosted by the prominent lobbying firm BGR Group. According to Politico “Several lobbyists who have actively raised money for presidential hopefuls said they’ve become such predictable punching bags that the negative comments have no effect on their decisions about campaign donations.”

Nevertheless, campaign finance reform, transparency and lobbying are all poised to potentially be major 2016 presidential campaign issues. As more candidates release their policy goals and platforms, Lobby Blog will continue to monitor and report the latest lobbying news.

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