- Jan. 26, 2022
-- There is a loud and steady cry for finance reform for members of Congress. The mantra most heard is a four bullet point creed:
- Not own or trade individual stocks
- Lifetime ban on becoming a lobbyist
- No sitting on corporate boards
- Release your tax returns now and every year you are in Congress
Seeing that rubs me wrong on a couple of levels. First, I do not accept ultimatums, bow to threats or backdown from bullies. And this seems to be the tactic of many trying to initiate these much needed reforms. Secondly, this is far too simplistic to make sense or be defensible. There are far too many logical outcomes that make those four bullet points untenable. But, as I take my responsibilities very seriously, I read Senator Warren's ANTI-CORRUPTION AND PUBLIC INTEGRITY ACT (https://www.warren.senate.gov/
in full and found the substance I needed to be able to give some legitimate thought to this concern.
I can easily see that this bill benefits from Senator Warrens' long service in Congress. She has left few stones unturned and that is good. I am disappointed that she has left out some, what I believe to be, important parts. Much of the text lacks operational definitions. It seems more of an opportunity to "discuss" what should be done rather than a definitive line in the sand. Also, she does not back-fill the loss of knowledge from removing lobbyists. Whereas we want to think of lobbyists as all greedy sell outs, the reality is that many provide much needed information and support for Congressional decisions. As a gay man I know my life would be far worse without continuous lobbying in congress by those that support human dignity as a human right. There should be a clause defining what is an expert qualified to inform Congress. Lastly, the one sided approach to foreign lobbying is very hurtful to foreign countries in two ways. Poorer countries in need of support must have a voice other than their own to be heard. Also a far too common perception by American's is that we have the only thing worth having and so there is no structure for limiting American lobbyist in foreign countries. Where is application of the golden rule? All in all my observations are minor and I would sign on to this. It may not be perfect, but it moves in the right direction. Especially when we see #BBB (https://www.dougwhite4congress.us/blog/hashtags/BBB
) derailed due to coal interests by one person.