Sen. Elizabeth Warren Unveils Anticorruption Legislation (#GotBitcoin?)
Proposal serves as a vehicle to place the first-term senator at the forefront of the Democratic Party’s resistance to President Trump. Sen. Elizabeth Warren Unveils Anticorruption Legislation
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in the latest move positioning herself for a 2020 presidential campaign, on Tuesday proposed sweeping new ethics restrictions for federal officials.
The Massachusetts Democrat’s proposal includes a ban on individual stock ownership by members of Congress, White House staff and federal judges; a prohibition on Americans serving as lobbyists for foreign countries; and a mandate on the release of tax returns by candidates for president and Congress.
Ms. Warren’s legislation, dubbed the “Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act,” is unlikely to become law, while Republicans control Congress and the White House. But it does serve as a vehicle to place the first-term senator at the forefront of the Democratic Party’s resistance to President Trump.
“Washington corruption is not a small problem, and it will not be rooted out with small solutions,” she said.
Ms. Warren’s proposal would apply conflict-of-interest laws to the president and vice president and require them to sell assets through a blind trust.
In the name of transparency, she would require the IRS to release the previous eight years of tax returns for any candidate for president and vice president—and then do so for each year they are in office. The IRS would make public two years of tax returns for congressional candidates, in addition to each year they are in office.
Mr. Trump broke precedent during the 2016 campaign by refusing to release his tax returns. He said he couldn’t do that because they were being audited by the IRS.
While Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, awaits a jury’s decision on 18 counts of alleged tax fraud, bank fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts related to his overseas political work, Ms. Warren would “end lobbying as we know it.”
She would institute a lifetime lobbying ban for former presidents, vice presidents, members of Congress, cabinet secretaries and federal judges and require them to disclose their sources of income for four years after leaving office. The proposal includes a prohibition on U.S. lobbyists being paid by foreign governments, individuals and companies that aim to influence public policy.
And Ms. Warren is calling for the creation of a new federal agency charged with enforcing the new edicts, including maintaining a central clearinghouse to handle Freedom of Information Act requests made of federal agencies.
Ninety-four percent of core Democratic voters disapprove of Mr. Trump’s job performance, according to the July Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. But whether presidential primary voters in 2020 will be motivated by a platform to tighten ethics standards or by health care, the economy and gun control—issues Democratic candidates are putting front-and-center for the midterms—is unclear.
Ms. Warren’s proposals come as she seeks to burnish her appeal to the disparate wings of the Democratic Party.
Last year she announced support for a single-payer health-care plan championed by the party’s liberal activists.
To help build the party’s establishment infrastructure, she announced in March that she would donate $5,000 to each of the 50 state Democratic parties. In May she gave $175,000 to Democratic organizations focused on winning state legislative races.
Ms. Warren also sent fundraising emails to raise campaign funds for centrist Democrats such as Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and Pennsylvania Rep. Conor Lamb.
And, during an appearance in New Orleans earlier this month, she made an explicit appeal to African-American voters at a forum hosted by fellow Democrat Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond. “Our criminal justice system is racist,” she said.
The proposals put Ms. Warren squarely in opposition to Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly referred to her with a racial slur related to her Native American background.
Like other would-be top-tier Democratic presidential contenders, Ms. Warren has said publicly that her focus is on winning back congressional majorities this fall. But she has done little to cool speculation that she will seek the Democratic nomination in 2020.
During the New Orleans appearance, Ms. Warren was asked what changed after she passed on running for president in 2016.
She replied: “Two words: Donald Trump.”