Not only does she have a plan for everything, but her plans are also designed to change the status quo.
Courtesy of Vox:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) just previewed the first major piece of legislation she’d try to pass through Congress if elected president: a vast anti-corruption package to crack down on the entrenched culture of lobbying in Washington, DC.
Warren’s plan, released Monday morning, is an update of a bill she released back in August 2018, well before she announced her campaign for president. And she’s been clear it would be the first major legislative priority of a Warren administration. Warren believes the flow of money in politics has stalled progress on a number of other issues, including gun violence, climate change, and the rising cost of health care. Stamping money out of politics goes to the root of these issues, she says.
“The rich and the powerful have been calling the shots in Washington forever and ever and ever it feels like,” Warren told Vox’s Ezra Klein in June. “They’re not going to just say, ‘Oh, well, okay. Now you need a wealth tax. Now you want to make these other investments.’ … I think going straight up the middle on the corruption plan is the first one. Knock them back, and while they’re all scrambling, then start passing the rest of it.”
In other words, Warren’s anti-corruption plan is her legislative cornerstone. If elected president, she’d have plenty of buy-in from the Democratic-controlled House, which passed a similar, sweeping anti-corruption and pro-democracy reform bill known as HR 1 as its first priority after retaking the gavel in 2018. Democrats have a decent chance to retain control of the House in 2020, but flipping the Republican-controlled Senate will be much more difficult.
The main planks of Warren’s updated anti-corruption plan are similar to the bill she released last year, but there are several major updates, including banning forced arbitration clauses and class action waivers for all employment, consumer protection, antitrust, and civil rights cases.
Well now the Republicans in Washington really have something to be afraid of. And some Democrats too I imagine.
Here are the key points of her plan:
- A lifetime lobbying ban for presidents, vice presidents, members of Congress, federal judges, and Cabinet secretaries.
- Applying conflict-of-interest laws to the president and vice president, requiring them to place businesses into a blind trust to be sold off. They would also have to place assets that could present a conflict of interest — including real estate — in a blind trust and sell them off.
- Multi-year lobbying bans for federal employees (both Congressional staffers and employees of federal agencies). The span of time would be at least two years and six years for those wishing to become corporate lobbyists.
- Banning members of Congress and senior congressional staff from serving on corporate boards. The plan would also ban senior administration officials and members of Congress from serving on for-profit boards, no matter if they receive compensation for it or not.
- Ban lobbyists from all fundraising activities, including political fundraisers or campaign bundling, and strengthen criminal anti-corruption statutes by redefining an “official act” to make politicians unable to accept gifts or payments in exchange for government action.
- Requiring the IRS to release eight years of tax returns for all presidential and vice-presidential candidates as well as requiring them to release tax returns during each year in office. The IRS would also have to release two years of tax returns for members of Congress, and require them to release tax returns for each lawmaker’s year in office.
- Banning members of Congress, Cabinet secretaries, federal judges, White House staff, senior congressional staff, and other officials from owning or trading individual stocks while in office.
- Changing the rulemaking process of federal agencies to severely restrict the ability of corporations or industry to delay or influence rulemaking. Warren’s plan would restrict studies funded by groups with conflict-of-interest problems being considered in the rulemaking process, unless they go under a lengthy peer review.
- Broadening the definition of a “thing of value” in campaign finance laws to go beyond money. Under the new definition, it could include opposition research from foreign governments.
- Creating a new independent US Office of Public Integrity, which would enforce the nation’s ethics laws and investigate any potential violations. The office would also try to strengthen open records laws, making records more easily accessible to the public and the press.
- Banning forced arbitration clauses and class action waivers for all employment, consumer protection, antitrust, and civil rights cases.
- Boosting transparency in certain court cases by prohibiting courts from using sealed settlements to conceal evidence in cases that involve public health or safety.
Damn Warren is not playing around here.
Banning Washington politicians from becoming lobbyist would actually remove part of the incentive for some of these folks to enter politics in the first place.
Blocking them from trading stocks would keep them from profiting from inside information while in office, another incentive for some to launch a political career.
And having an agency that focused on public integrity would ensure that we would never have a Donald Trump in office ever again.
Oh yeah, I’m liking this plan.
Now this, this is how one drains a swamp.
Update: Here is a look at the crowd that came out to hear Warren talk about this plan last night.
Massive crowd in New York to hear the next president of the United States deliver a landmark speech about ending corruption in Washington DC and putting America back in the hands of the people. #Warren2020 pic.twitter.com/GEr8Uw8kgK
— Ryan Knight 🗽 (@ProudResister) September 16, 2019
Damn, that is whole lot of people.