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The people of Iowa’s First District sent me to Congress with a clear mandate to clean up the corruption that runs rampant in the nation’s capital.

I have heard from countless Iowans who are sick of the Washington elite growing more powerful while putting the needs of those they are supposed to serve on the back burner. President Donald Trump had it right when he instituted a federal lobbying ban on certain executive branch employees within his first week in office. But I disagreed with his decision to reverse this policy before leaving office, allowing senior executive branch officials to instantly get cushy lobbying jobs. Regardless of who is in office, government officials should be held to the highest ethical standards.

That is why I recently introduced the Promoting the Unbiased Role of Employees in the Executive Act (PURE Executive Act). This bipartisan legislation will help restore integrity to public service by imposing two common-sense federal lobbying bans, similar to the ban instituted by the Trump administration. The goal of this bill is simple: prevent powerful Washington insiders from serving themselves and refocus their attention on serving the American people.

Firstly, this legislation would impose a five-year ban on senior administration employees from lobbying a federal agency where they were employed. For example, a high-up official at the Environmental Protection Agency would not be able to leave the EPA, become a lobbyist, and then ask for favors and make backdoor deals with their former EPA colleagues — deals that hurt biofuels producers but help line lobbyists’ pockets. This “revolving door” scenario is all too common in Congress— well-connected officials register to lobby immediately after stepping down from a position in public service and then re-enter government work when the time is right.

Washington insiders should not be able to leave their taxpayer-funded posts and use their status to immediately cash out and lobby their politician friends. And those who work in the administration should be focused on serving the American people, not helping chummy lobbyists make money and gain power. Putting restrictions on this activity is just common-sense good governance.

Secondly, this bill also protects American interests by banning senior administration officials from lobbying on behalf of a foreign agent for life. People in the top tiers of government frequently have access to sensitive information that is critical to U.S. national security. It is no surprise that foreign governments that seek to undermine the U.S. are willing to pay a pretty penny to hire lobbyists who have classified knowledge, a high value understanding of the inner workings of U.S. politics, and access to other influential officials still in government.

This lifetime ban is obvious — those who worked in the top ranks of the administration should never have the option of using U.S. intelligence to benefit our adversaries or do the bidding of our enemies. Iowans should know that their hard-earned tax dollars will not pay the salary of someone who will then turn around and sell out our country for their next paycheck. Never should an official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture be able to later work for the Chinese Communist Party, sharing key information and harming Iowa’s farmers and supporting a Chinese market takeover.

The PURE Executive Act is a step in the right direction to refocus our nation’s leaders on public service and restore trust in our institutions. We still have a long way to go to root out the corruption in our nation’s capital, but I will keep fighting to hold Washington accountable and push for the transparency that Iowans demand and deserve.

Author: Ashley Hinson


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