Trump is draining a tiny corner of the Everglades even as he ships in thousands more alligators and anacondas to wallow in the rest of it.
… in terms of the specifics of Trump’s lobbying ban, there are two huge problems.
First, there’s no ban on present-day lobbyists. Republican National Committee Chief Strategist Sean Spicer said today that instead of “looking back,” Trump’s plan “looks forward.” Someone who spent the past 30 years lobbying can just deregister this afternoon and they’re good to go.
Moreover, any former lobbyist who snags a plum Trump position will realize there’s no way on earth the ban will ever be enforced. In 2006, then-Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd pointed out that during the past three years the Senate’s office in charge of keeping track of lobbyists had “referred over 2,000 cases to the Department of Justice, and nothing’s been heard from them again.”
Second, there’s a huge problem with the legal definition of “lobbyist” and how exactly the ban will be enforced.
The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 set up three thresholds that must be met for someone to be considered a lobbyist. The most important of these is that you have to spend at least 20 percent of your time in any three month period lobbying for any one client.
So you can make $3 million a year lobbying, but if you limit yourself to pushing Exxon’s interests to just 19 percent of your time, you’re not a lobbyist.
So it appears that this lobbyist ban by Trump won’t work. Hmmm.