The Capitol building stands behind caution tape at a construction site in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Elizabeth Warren Targets Washington in Call to End Lobbying as We Know It

(Bloomberg) -- Declaring that big money has created a culture of corruption that colors virtually every important decision in Washington, Senator Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday proposed a sweeping package of restrictions that would create a sea-change in the way the nation’s capital operates.

The Massachusetts Democrat’s “Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act” would impose a lifetime ban on lobbying by former top officials in the executive, legislative and judicial branches, as well as multi-year bans on other government employees. It would also restrict the ability of lobbyists to take government jobs and ban “golden parachutes” for corporate executives who leave their jobs for federal service.

“These reforms have one simple aim: to take power in Washington away from the wealthy, the powerful, and the well-connected who have corrupted our government and put power back in the hands of the American people,” Warren said in remarks prepared for a speech at the National Press Club in Washington.

Warren’s proposal faces an uphill battle for a variety of reasons, not least among them that her party is in the minority in both houses of Congress and the White House is occupied by a Republican administration that is far less hostile to the influence of big money. And she seems to know that:

“I’m sure the people who make big money off the current system will yell and scream and spend millions of dollars trying to stop these changes,” she said in her prepared remarks. “And the all-day-long pundits and Washington insiders who live in the same neighborhoods and eat at the same sushi bars and go to the same book parties will say ‘this will never pass’ and try to color me naive for even trying. But it’s that kind of self-serving group-think that’s allowed corruption to spread through this town for decades.”

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