No matter what issue brings you into this fight — whether it’s child care, student loans, health care, immigration, or criminal justice — one thing is crystal clear: Corruption is making it worse.
Our government works great for the wealthy and well-connected — just not for everybody else. Giant corporations and billionaires who don’t want to pay taxes or follow any rules use their money and influence to stand in the way of the big, structural change we need.
It’s corruption, plain and simple. We’ve got to call it out, and we’ve got to fight back. So today, I’m proposing the most sweeping set of anti-corruption reforms since Watergate.
Our plan includes improving public integrity rules for federal officials in every branch of government, ending lobbying as we know it, fixing the criminal laws to hold corrupt politicians to account, and ensuring our federal agencies and courts are free from corrupting influences. And I’m just getting started.
But it’s only going to get done if our grassroots movement fights for it, and that comes down to strong supporters like you. Add your name if you’re ready to fight to end Washington corruption.
Here are some of the main pieces of our plan:
1. Rewrite our ethics laws so that public servants actually serve the public — not their own financial interests or the financial interests of the rich and powerful.
Let’s face it: Donald Trump is a walking conflict of interest. His refusal to divest from his businesses has opened the door for giant corporations, foreign lobbyists, and our own government officials to curry favor with his administration and pad his own bottom line.
But Washington corruption didn’t start with Donald Trump. The problem is much bigger than him, and restoring public confidence isn’t just about replacing Trump and his cronies. We need big, structural change, new bright lines, and new clear rules to eliminate the possibility of public officials serving private interests.
One way our plan fights back is by requiring presidents and vice-presidents to put their businesses into a blind trust to be sold off. And we’ll automatically release the tax returns of all federal candidates and officeholders.
We’ll also ban government officials from trading individual stocks, so they can’t use their power to increase the value of those stocks and pad their own pockets. And we’ll put strict rules on so-called “political intelligence” firms that sell access to insider political information to help Wall Street traders make a quick buck.
Next, it’s time to close and padlock the revolving door between industry and government. We’ll ban “golden parachutes” (pre-bribes that big companies give to executives who are on their way to serving in government), restrict lobbyists from entering government jobs, put a lifetime ban on presidents, vice presidents, members of Congress, and top appointees from becoming lobbyists, and ban companies from immediately hiring former senior government officials from agencies or offices they’ve been lobbying.
This isn’t only a problem for Congress and the White House — our plan also holds the federal judiciary to the highest ethical standards. We’ll put tough new rules in place to prevent conflicts of interest, require disclosures, and close the loophole that allows federal judges to dodge accountability by stepping down from their posts.
2. End lobbying as we know it.
Right now, the legal definition of lobbying is so limited that powerful interests can keep their influence-peddling in the shadows. We’ll expand the definition to include anyone who is paid to influence lawmakers. And there’ll be no more lobbying for foreign entities — period.
All lobbyists will be under strict new rules, including not being able to donate or raise money for political candidates — so no more legalized bribery. And every meeting between any lobbyist and any Congressional office or public official will be publicly reported. We’ll also put a tax on excessive lobbying and use the revenue to give Congress and agencies tools to fight back against the corporate influence machine.
3. End the corporate capture of our federal agencies.
Because of the revolving door, the avalanche of lobbyists, and the weakness of our government’s tools to fight back, agencies often find their agendas hijacked by the very industries they are supposed to regulate.
We’ll stop powerful interests from peddling fake research — often funded by undisclosed donors — and hold corporations accountable for lying to regulators. Corporate bigwigs won’t get invited to negotiate rules their companies would have to follow, and they won’t be able to use stall tactics to kill public interest rules.
4. Ensure Equal Justice Under Law — not one set of rules for the wealthy and well-connected, and another for everyone else.
We need to reform our legal rules to make sure every person who has been harmed can have their day in court.
Right now, many companies force their employees and consumers to sign away their rights to sue them in federal court if something goes wrong. How? By burying “forced arbitration” clauses and class action waivers in the fine print of contracts. Our plan will ban those practices.
5. Hold bad actors accountable — with real penalties for breaking the rules and broad new government transparency standards.
A new U.S. Office of Public Integrity and a strengthened Independent Office of Congressional Ethics will watch our government like hawks and enforce ethics rules.
We’ll also tighten the rules to clarify that candidates can’t get political assistance from foreign countries or solicit large hush money payments without facing legal consequences. Let’s be clear: Donald Trump Jr. can’t get dirt on political opponents from a foreign power, and Donald Trump can’t get his lawyer to pay $130,000 to cover up an affair right before an election.
And we’ll deter corruption by increasing transparency and strengthening open records laws.
There’s more in the plan, but it all comes down to this: Let’s finally end the stranglehold that the wealthy and the well-connected have over our government.
Add your name if you agree: We need big, structural change to root out corruption in Washington.
Thanks for being a part of this,
Elizabeth doesn’t accept contributions from PACs of any kind or federally registered lobbyists. This grassroots movement is powered by supporters like you. Chip in now to help build our movement.