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POGO Video: Explaining the Foreign Lobbying Revolving Door

Trump Ethics Executive Order Foreign Lobbying Revolving Door - foreign flags denoting influence dropped on an outline of the US Capitol

President Donald Trump promised to drain the swamp. His Ethics Executive Order is a fine start, but his foreign lobbying ban doesn't fully capture officials that would leave his administration to go work on behalf of any foreign interests (not just foreign governments).

Former government employees doing any kind of work for foreign clients should be held to a higher level of accountability, as they could be putting foreign interests and goals first, regardless of how it may affect US citizens. To increase accountability of government employees who pass through the revolving door to lobby for foreign clients, we need more transparency.

POGO Investigator Lydia Dennett explains the loopholes in the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) that could allow lobbying agents with foreign clients to get around President Trump's foreign lobbying ban. When President Trump issued his Ethics Executive Order, Dennett wrote:

"By restricting this lobbying ban only to those who would go on to register under FARA, several other areas where administration officials could trade on their public experience for the benefit of foreign companies and governments are left out. The full extent of foreign influence will remain in the dark.


If President Trump truly wants to drain the swamp he must work toward closing the loopholes between FARA and the LDA and encourage Congress to initiate its own effort to stop the revolving door between those in Congress and foreign lobbying firms."

Read Dennett's full explanation of the foreign lobbying revolving door and President Trump's Ethics Executive Order here.

By: Iulia Gheorghiu
Former Beth Daley Impact Fellow, POGO

Photo of Iulia Gheorghiu At the time of publication, Iulia was the Beth Daley Impact Fellow at the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: Government Accountability, Open Government

Related Content: Ethics, Improper Influence, Lobbying, Foreign Lobbying

Authors: Iulia Gheorghiu

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