Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in a fiery speech Tuesday, announced legislation to prohibit lawmakers and other officials from owning or trading individual stocks -- and impose a lifetime ban on members of Congress being hired as lobbyists once they leave office.
In a speech at the National Press Club, the Massachusetts senator declared that “corruption has seeped into the fabric of our government” and said that “like a cancer eating away at our democracy, corruption has eroded Americans’ faith in our government.”
She said her proposal would “padlock the revolving door" between big business and the federal government, and stop self-dealing by lawmakers.
"Today I'm introducing the most ambitious anti-corruption legislation proposed in Congress since Watergate," she claimed.
The legislation, called The Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act, would ban members of Congress, Cabinet secretaries, federal judges and other government officials from owning and trading individual stocks. It would also ban foreign lobbying, ban lobbyists donating to candidates and lawmakers and slap a lifetime ban on lobbying by lawmakers, presidents and agency heads.
As Democrats gear up to fight Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, her proposal also would require the Supreme Court to follow ethics rules for other federal judges.
Warren has been widely floated as a possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. Asked Tuesday about whether she was running, she brushed off the question by saying she wasn’t running for president in 2020, but running for senator in 2018.
But in her remarks, she took a few shots at President Trump directly on the subject of corruption. She said the Trump administration was not the cause of corruption in D.C., but “they’re just the biggest stinkiest example of it.”
Her bill would also require politicians to release more tax and financial information, as she suggested Trump may be vulnerable to blackmail from foreign powers.
"Right now, that problem begins with a president who may be vulnerable to financial blackmail from a hostile foreign power and God knows who else -- because it's a president and his family who may be personally profiting off hundreds of policy decisions every day -- but we don’t know, because he won’t show us his tax returns and won’t get rid of his personal business interests," she said.
The move represents the latest form of left-wing populism from Warren, and comes after she introduced the “Accountable Capitalism Act,” which she says would give workers a "stronger voice in corporate decision-making at large companies."