WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined Senate Democrats today to announce a new legislative reform package that would hold the government more accountable, amend the Constitution to end unlimited campaign contributions and reform the lobbying laws to limit special interest influence. The new legislative package and campaign – dubbed #WeThePeople – also includes a financial industry legislative reform introduced by Senator Baldwin last year.
Senator Baldwin’s Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act prohibits private sector employers from offering “golden parachute” bonuses to financial executives and employees joining government service. Baldwin’s reform will also help stop the “revolving door” between the financial industry and government that has allowed Wall Street to influence our regulators charged with oversight of the financial industry.
“The American people deserve to have trust in the fact that we have ‘a government of the people, by the people, and for the people,’” said Senator Baldwin. “We can restore Americans’ faith in government by ending financial industry golden parachute bonuses and working to stop the revolving door that Wall Street uses to rig the game against an economy that should work for everyone. Hardworking American families are struggling to get ahead and they can’t afford to have special interests in a cozy relationship with the government. We need to make sure that government officials are working on behalf of the public interest and our common good.”
Specifically, Senator Baldwin’s Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act will prohibit government employees from accepting bonuses from their former private sector employers for entering government service; enhance the integrity of our financial regulatory system by slowing the revolving door between industry and government; and help ensure that conflicts of interest do not erode the effectiveness of financial regulators.
Outlaws Bonuses for Government Work: Right now, some private sector employers offer bonuses to employees when they leave to join the government. This reform prohibits government employees from accepting bonuses from their former private sector employers for entering government service.
Expands Cooling Off Periods and Tightens Lobbying Rules: Right now, government employees entrusted with oversight are required by law to recuse themselves from any cases involving their former employers for one year. That’s not long enough. This bill would bump it up to two years. And for people leaving government service, this bill would prevent them from taking a job at a company they oversaw until at least two years have passed.
Reduces Conflicts of Interest: Right now, loopholes allow former government officials to lobby in practice, even if they aren’t officially called lobbyists. They offer regulatory access to private interests as “outside advisors” or “strategic counselors.” That means they can avoid legal requirements that lobbyists have to meet. This bill would clamp down on that. The bill requires senior financial service regulators to recuse themselves from any official actions that directly or substantially benefit the former employers or clients for whom they worked in the previous two years before joining federal service.
More information on the larger legislative reform package, the We the People Act, is available here.