President-elect Trump has promised to "drain the swamp" of corruption and influence-peddling in government. He said he wants a ban on all executive branch officials lobbying the government for five years after they leave government service and has proposed a lifetime ban on defense contractors hiring federal contracting officials.
Unfortunately, these measures don't go nearly far enough to drain the murkiest parts of DC's political swamp. To truly make a difference, new rules must be smarter, more comprehensive, and enforceable.
We call on President-elect Trump to issue an Executive Order on Ethics on his first day of office that will include:
A smart, targeted crackdown on allowing appointees to come into government with financial conflicts of interest. Too many people game the system by calling themselves consultants, advisors, strategists, or the like in an effort to get around rules governing lobbyists;
Restrictions on all political appointees from using their government jobs to enrich and reward previous employers or to curry favor with companies in order to land a lucrative position after leaving office;
Strict standards to prevent special interests from interfering in federal agencies; and
Rules to make the federal contracting process more transparent, accountable, and fair.
To make these ethics rules effective and enforceable, Trump should install a senior independent White House ethics official with real power.Finally, these rules need to be built upon a foundation of democratic values. Any "swamp-draining" efforts must be guided by a commitment to protect and advance core American principles such as a free press, an independent judiciary, a respect for diversity, the constitutional presumption of checks and balances, and equal protections under the law.