In Washington, money doesn’t just talk. It screams.
And it grabs our government by the throat. Powerful interests, big banks, and giant corporations keep getting their way – and working people keep getting kicked in the teeth.
We need to fight back.
That’s why I just introduced the most ambitious anti-corruption legislation since Watergate.
We went big. Our bill – the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act – would end business-as-usual in Washington and rip corruption out by the roots.
I’ll be blunt: Washington insiders – even some of my friends – will hate some of these proposals. But we need to pass this bill to make sure our government works for working people – not just the rich and powerful.
There are tons of fixes in this plan, from giant reforms to small tweaks and everything in between, but it rests on six big ideas:
1. Padlock the revolving door between big business and government.
Right now, Goldman Sachs has so many former employees in the Trump administration that they could open up a new branch. They’ve given obscene bonuses and payouts to executives like Gary Cohn to go work on the inside and stick taxpayers with a massive corporate tax cut. We need to make sure government works for the people, not for officials’ previous and future employers.
2. Stop public officials from using their government position to pad their own pockets and help out their former employers.
That starts at the very top – with the President of the United States. Presidents shouldn’t own companies while they’re running the country; and they should disclose their financial interests to the public. But we shouldn’t stop there. Members of Congress and leaders and high-level executive branch officials shouldn’t own and trade individual stocks – whose value they could influence with their policy decisions.
3. End lobbying as we know it.
Armies of corporate influence-peddlers flood the halls of Congress every day, but many aren’t even required to register as lobbyists. Let’s start by fixing the crummy definition of a lobbyist. And we should shine a light on ALL influence-peddling in Washington – and stop lobbyists from trading money for government favors. We can go even further by placing a lifetime ban on lobbying by high-ranking ex-officials like former members of Congress and Cabinet Secretaries.
4. Stop corporations from working in the shadows to undermine public interest rules.
Make federal agencies work for the public – not powerful industries like big oil. We can start by ending the practice of corporate bigwigs paying experts to write sham studies designed to prevent agencies from writing strong public interest rules. If conflicted studies don’t meet minimum scientific standards, agencies shouldn’t be required to consider them. And let’s empower the public to make sure that companies can’t break the rules and agencies aren’t asleep at the wheel.
5. Restore public faith in our courts and give ordinary people a fair shake.
No one should have to defend themselves in front of federal judges with conflicts of interest. We can stop corporate interests from funding fancy junkets for judges. We can put tough ethical standards in place. And we can make it easier for everyone to get their day in court.
6. Hire a new independent sheriff to police corruption.
They’ll watch over Washington like a hawk and swoop in to strike back against corruption – wherever and whenever it happens.
Here’s the bottom line: Washington should work for you even if you can’t afford to hire an army of lawyers and lobbyists.
Putting government on the side of working Americans is why I’m in this fight. That’s why I ran for Senate – even though I never in a zillion years thought I was going to run for public office.
I didn’t go to Washington to smile, nod, and write laws to help powerful people who could write big checks. No – I went to Washington to be the best Senator that money can’t buy.
We’ve got to fight corruption. It’s the only way we’ll get government to stop the big banks from wrecking our economy again, lower the costs of prescription drugs, get student debt under control, and level the playing field for working families.