Trump Revokes Lobbying Ban He Signed At The Beginning Of His Presidency

Topline

President Donald Trump, in one of his last acts as president, revoked his own executive order requiring federal government appointees to sign a pledge to not lobby the agencies in which they worked for five years after leaving the administration.

Key Facts

The initial executive order, entitled ”Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Appointees,” was signed by Trump just 8 days into his presidency and also included a ban on lobbying certain officials for the remainder of the Trump administration.

In addition to the lobbying ban, the pledge also included agreements to not become registered foreign agents, not accept gifts from lobbyists while serving in the administration.

The executive order did allow former lobbyists to enter the administration, but it placed a two year restriction on them working in agencies they previously lobbied.

The revocation was announced by the White House moments after it released a long list of Trump’s final pardons, including controversial ones like former adviser Steve Bannon and rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black.

The executive order proved largely toothless in an administration known for its ethical lapses, with at least 33 former administration officials sidestepping the lobbying restrictions as of February 2019, according to ProPublica.

Key Background

Trump’s ethics pledge had already been slammed contemporaneously by watchdogs for falling short of President Barack Obama’s ethics restrictions, which barred appointments for anyone registered as a lobbyist in the preceding year. Trump revoked that order at the start of his term.

Crucial Quote

“All the people standing behind me will not be able to go to work,” Trump said when signing the ban, cast as making good on his pledge to “drain the swamp.”

What To Watch For

Biden has already announced plans to roll back a number of Trump’s more controversial executive actions in his first days in office, including pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord and banning travel from several Muslim-majority countries. Biden is also expected to institute tighter ethics restrictions, according to the Washington Post.

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