WASHINGTON – Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren presented on Tuesday a radical proposal against corruption that includes temporarily prohibiting lawmakers from owning stocks and permanently banning them from being hired by lobbying groups, amid speculation about a possible presidential run in 2020.
Warren told the National Press Club that her plan – set forth in a new bill called the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act – would close the revolving door between the big companies and the government.
The senator has been very critical of what she considers to be the excessive influence of Wall Street and the big financial entities on federal government decision-making, something that she says has not been curtailed despite the deep scars left by the serious 2008-2010 financial crisis.
She remarked that the plan envisions a simple outcome – taking power in Washington away from the rich, powerful and influential who have “corrupted” the government and returning it to the hands of the people.
Among other things, the bill says that presidential and vice presidential candidates must – by law – disclose eight years’ worth of tax returns, release their tax returns each year while in office and place any assets that could present a conflict of interest into a blind trust to be sold off.
In addition, the president, vice president, Cabinet members, and congressional lawmakers would be banned for life on becoming lobbyists while other federal workers would have less severe restrictions imposed on their future lobbying efforts.
The bill does not seem to have any chance of passing given the Republican majority in the Senate and the probable opposition to it among many Democratic lawmakers.
The Massachusetts senator said that “There’s no real question that the Trump era has given us the most nakedly corrupt leadership this nation has seen in our lifetimes. ... But they are not the cause of the rot – they’re just the biggest, stinkiest example of it. Corruption is a form of public cancer, and Washington’s got it bad.”
When asked whether she was intending to run for president in 2020, Warren said simply that she was intending to compete to retain her Senate seat in 2018 and was not intending to compete in the 2020 vote.