Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) openly supported a former corporate lobbyist’s senatorial bid – funded in part by thousands of dollars in lobbyist money – months prior to the rollout of her vast anti-corruption plan, which specifically targets lobbyist activities.
Warren unveiled her expansive anti-corruption plan Monday and devoted a significant portion of it to lobbyists, their influence and activities.
“We’ve seen the issue of industry lobbyists and top execs spinning freely through the revolving door to and from important government positions in both Democratic and Republican administrations,” Warren wrote.
She continued, unveiling a comprehensive series of proposals:
Fixing the underlying problem requires us to tighten up the rules to ensure that when government officials are making decisions, they are considering only the public interest — and not their own personal interests or the interests of their friends and future employers.
She called to “restrict the ability of lobbyists to enter government jobs” by preventing lobbyists from taking on the role for two years and requiring corporate lobbyists to wait six years.
“No exceptions, and no waivers. These extensive cooling off periods will help ensure that if anyone with this background is hired into a government role, they are being selected because of their expertise, and not their connections,” she explained.
However, earlier this year, Warren happily endorsed Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) Democrat challenger Jaime Harrison– a corporate lobbyist who worked for the Podesta Group from 2008-2016. After leaving the Podesta Group, Harrison reported assets of $3.45 million– a drastically different report than his 2008 financial disclosure, which showed “no reportable assets and significant liabilities, disclosing credit card and loan debt together between $140,004 and $365,000,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Additionally, Harrison’s campaign has raked in thousands of dollars from lobbyists.
“Harrison, who is worth over $3 million due to his lobbying career, took more than $15,000 from at least two dozen lobbyists during the second quarter of 2019, Free Beacon reported.
Despite that, Warren emphatically offered her support on Twitter in May.
“Jaime Harrison will fight hard for the people of South Carolina and take our country forward. Go Jaime!” she wrote at the time:
Jaime Harrison will fight hard for the people of South Carolina and take our country forward. Go Jaime! https://t.co/pY5keteN1i
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) May 30, 2019
Warren’s previous praise of a former corporate lobbyist, whose campaign has accepted thousands in lobbyist dollars, stands in stark contrast to the position Warren outlined in her anti-corruption plan, calling a campaign’s acceptance of lobbyist money “legalized bribery” and slamming “lobbyist-turned-Senator-turned-lobbyist Jon Kyl.”
Paid lobbyists are hired for one objective: to advance the interests of their clients. Allowing individuals who are paid to influence government officials on policy to also give gifts or funnel money to the political campaigns of those same officials sounds like legalized bribery. My plan not only bans lobbyists from making political contributions, it also bans them from bundling donations or hosting fundraisers for political candidates. And it outlaws lobbying contingency fees, where lobbyists are only paid if they successfully influence politicians to achieve a policy outcome that serves their client’s narrow interests.
Warren repeated that sentiment during her anti-corruption speech in New York City’s Washington Square Park Monday.
“Lobbyists and a public official should be a matter of public record. No more lobbying on behalf of foreign governments,” Warren told the crowd.
“And no more campaign contributions or bundling by lobbyists. Contributing to a campaign at the same time that you are paid to influence those same elected officials is the very definition of bribery, and we’re going to put a stop to it,” she added.