On Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) — a duo in Congress who could not have more polarized views on most issues — signaled support in a potential bill targeting congressmen-turned-lobbyists, AKA “the swamp.”
“If you are a member of Congress + leave, you shouldn’t be allowed to turn right around [and] leverage your service for a lobbyist check,” argued Ocasio-Cortez, reacting to a Public Citizen report claiming “nearly 60% of former members of the 115th Congress who have taken jobs outside of politics are now lobbying or have other jobs influencing federal policy.”
“I don’t think it should be legal at ALL to become a corporate lobbyist if you’ve served in Congress. At minimum there should be a long wait period,” the 29-year-old added.
Senator Cruz, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, jumped on the idea.
“Here’s something I don’t say often: on this point, I AGREE with [AOC],” he posted via Twitter. “Indeed, I have long called for a LIFETIME BAN on former Members of Congress becoming lobbyists. The Swamp would hate it, but perhaps a chance for some bipartisan cooperation?”
AOC quickly responded to Cruz in the affirmative, noting that the potential legislation must be free of “poison pills.”
“[Ted Cruz] if you’re serious about a clean bill, then I’m down,” she posted. “Let’s make a deal. If we can agree on a bill with no partisan snuck-in clauses, no poison pills, etc - just a straight, clean ban on members of Congress becoming paid lobbyists - then I’ll co-lead the bill with you.”
Cruz simply responded: “You’re on.”
And the potential legislation only picked up steam from there, with Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) signing on, too.
“Okay, with [Brian Schatz] + [Ted Cruz] we’ve got at least one [Democrat]-[Republican] team in the Senate to ban members becoming lobbyists, & myself w/ [Chip Roy] makes at least one [Democrat]-[Republican] team in the House,” announced AOC. “And that’s just in a few hours - there will surely be more from both parties to sign on. Nice.”
As noted by the Washington Examiner, Cruz has been critical of lobbyists, once referring to them as “a cartel of career politicians in both parties.” Moreover, in 2015 the senator declared, “No more government of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists, and for the lobbyists.”
According to a report from Public Citizen, “Nearly two-thirds of recently retired or defeated U.S. lawmakers now working outside politics have landed jobs influencing federal policy, providing further evidence that members of Congress continue to spin through Washington’s revolving door at astonishing rates.”
"In a new analysis, Public Citizen examined the post-Congress employment activities of the 115th Congress, which started in 2017 and concluded on Jan. 3 of this year," the report continued. “Of the former members who have found new jobs outside of government and politics, 59% (26 of 44) were working for lobbying firms, consulting firms, trade groups or business groups working to influence federal government activities. Many others were working in television (14%) law (9%) corporate jobs (7%) academia (7%) or state-level groups (5%)."