EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Mike Gallagher Unveils Lobbying Ban For Former Members Of Congress

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Republican Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher introduced ethics legislation Friday that includes a longer lobbying ban for former members of Congress.

The Serve the People, Not the Swamp Act, obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller, lengthens the lobbying ban for former members of Congress and executive branch appointees from two to five years. It would also eliminate the pension program covering members of Congress. Gallagher concurrently introduced an ethics pledge, enforced by the Office of Government Ethics, applying the lobbying ban to executive branch employees.

Read the bill here:

Serve the People, Not the Swamp Act Text by Michael Ginsberg on Scribd

More than 400 former members of Congress are currently registered lobbyists, according to OpenSecrets. Democratic former California Sen. Barbara Boxer notably registered in 2021 to lobby for Hikvision USA, the American subsidiary of a Chinese company blacklisted for its involvement in the Uyghur genocide. Republican former Louisiana Sen. David Vitter registered to lobby for the same firm in 2020.

Four former members registered to lobby for TikTok in 2022, just as Congress began to consider legislation banning the app. (RELATED: A Former Democrat Staffer Is Trying To Keep A Chinese Surveillance Company Off The Government’s Blacklist)

Members of Congress have been allowed to participate in the Federal Employee Retirement Savings (FERS) program since 1984, and have been required to participate in the plan since 2003. More than 600 members participated in FERS or its predecessor, the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), in 2018, according to a Congressional Research Service report. Those members received an average of nearly $59,000 a year in benefits.

“Washington is broken. Unless we change the way this town works, the jerseys may change, but the results for the American people will be the same,” Gallagher said in a statement to the Daily Caller. “House Republicans have pushed back against the swamp by ending proxy voting and restoring accountability in Washington, and it’s time to build on this effort by changing the incentive structure for people serving at the highest levels of government. By ending taxpayer funded pensions for members of Congress and imposing strict lobbying requirements on members of Congress and high ranking government officials, these bills bring us one step closer to ensuring people in Washington are here to serve the American people, not the swamp.”