Donald Trump campaigned on a pledge to “drain the swamp.”
Washington was infested with corruption and crony capitalism.
So Trump closed his campaign with reforms that left the establishment praying he would lose the election.
And now that Trump is President-elect, there are many questions surrounding his ability to fulfill his promises.
But Americans received some good news on that front when Vice President-elect Mike Pence took over the transition effort and removed all lobbyists from the Trump team.
The Trump team also put out a tough new lobbying ban for administration officials.
“PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP’S TRANSITION TEAM ON WEDNESDAY ANNOUNCED THAT IT WILL REQUIRE INCOMING OFFICIALS TO TERMINATE THEIR LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS, AND AGREE NOT TO LOBBY AGAIN FOR FIVE YEARS AFTER LEAVING THE ADMINISTRATION.
ANYONE JOINING THE TRANSITION OR THE ADMINISTRATION WILL HAVE TO SIGN THE FOLLOWING PLEDGE: “BY SIGNING BELOW I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT I AM NOT CURRENTLY REGISTERED AND REPORTING AS A FEDERAL LOBBYIST AS DEFINED BY THE LOBBYING DISCLOSURE ACT AS AMENDED OR AS A COMPENSATED LOBBYIST AT THE STATE LEVEL IN ANY STATE. IF I WAS LISTED AS LOBBYIST IN THE MOST RECENT LOBBYING DISCLOSURE FORMS OR REPORTED TO BE FILED BY FEDERAL OR STATE LAW, I HEREBY NOTIFY THE PRESIDENT-ELECT’S TRANSITION TEAM THAT I HAVE FILED THE NECESSARY FORMS TO THE APPROPRIATE GOVERNMENT AGENCY TO TERMINATE MY [LOBBYING REGISTRATION]. I WILL PROVIDE THE TRANSITION TEAM WITH WRITTEN EVIDENCE OF MY FEDERAL OR STATE LOBBYIST TERMINATION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.”
“THE KEY THING FOR THIS ADMINISTRATION IS GOING TO BE THAT PEOPLE GOING OUT OF GOVERNMENT WON’T BE ABLE TO USE THAT SERVICE TO ENRICH THEMSELVES,” REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHIEF STRATEGIST SEAN SPICER SAID DURING A CONFERENCE CALL. AFTER THE CALL, HE REJECTED A SUGGESTION THAT THE POST-EMPLOYMENT BAN COULD HINDER THE TRANSITION TEAM’S ABILITY TO RECRUIT QUALIFIED APPLICANTS.”
Some media outlets worry this could make it difficult for Trump to staff his administration.
Many White House officials use their proximity to power to begin lucrative careers in lobbying once their time in the administration is over.
But Trump supporters argue you can’t “drain the swamp” with the same cast of characters.
Discouraging the usual D.C. insiders from joining a Trump administration allows the President-elect to begin his term as free as possible from elite influence.
Tellingly, this policy also applies to people joining the administration.
Politico reports that Obama’s ban on lobbying, which was implemented at the start of his administration, did not apply to current lobbyists.
Trump posted an infographic on Facebook laying out the other planks of his plan to cut down on the corruption in Washington.
In addition to lobbying, Trump made other promising proposals, like cutting regulations.
Cutting regulations would eliminate the favor trading between members of Congress and industry lobbyists.
Insiders use regulations to reward favored industries, while punishing those who don’t have a seat at the table.
A hiring freeze would also allow President-elect Trump to shrink government through attrition.
As federal workers retire, they would not be replaced. That would decrease the government workforce, which has long been a conservative goal.
Establishment insiders depend on government to generate wealth.
But you can’t “drain the swamp” unless you crack down on the ability of the political class to manipulate the government to enrich themselves and reward their cronies.
President-elect Trump’s ethics reforms are a good step in the right direction.