President-elect Donald Trump has mocked the revolving door style of lobbying that takes place on capitol hill. Revolving door lobbying is where the lobbyist rotates between holding an office to then advocating on behalf of industries and stakeholders affected by legislative changes.
Not long after the November 6 election, the Trump transition team made a bold announcement that the era of revolving door lobbying was at an end in Washington. The team then backtracked slightly, offering a compromise solution, opting to allow officials with lobbying experience to hold office provided they signed a sworn declaration that they would not continue to conduct lobbying after taking office, that they wait a mandatory five years between lobbying and assuming public office and most importantly, that they do not conduct lobbying on behalf of foreign governments.
RNC chief strategist spoke to the Financial Times in November to announce the changes to lobbying rules.
“What is crucial to understand about this lobbying ban is instead of looking back, it looks forward,” Mr Spicer said. “The focus on this is to ensure that service to the national [interest] is truly first. And that [trying] to enrich themselves is not at the heart of it.”
With that policy setting in mind and public statements from the Trump transition team that revolving door lobbying is at an end, it comes as a surprise that former Indiana Senator Dan Coats is in pole position to take over from James Clapper as Director of National Intelligence.
Coats was critical of some of Donald Trump’s comments during his successful 2016 presidential campaign (Video Source: USA Today).
His public service record is exemplary, having served as US ambassador to Germany for five years between 2001 to early 2005 under the Bush administration. He then returned home and served as Senator for Indiana, a position which he resigned from last year. What’s less well known on the public record is that Senator Coats has been rotating between lobbying firms since as early as 1980 and has made a personal fortune doing so to the tune of roughly $12 million (Source: AP).
Considering the current (and public) position both Donald Trump and his transition team have taken with regards to revolving door lobbyists, this does put Coats in an awkward position with the new incoming administration.
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