US President Donald Trump signs executive order to ban lobbying by former officials

January 29, 2017 2:17 pm

President shows his signature on executive orders alongside US Defense Secretary James Mattis (R) and US Vice President Mike Pence on January 27, 2016 at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to institute a lifetime foreign-lobbying ban for members of his administration once they leave as well as a five-year ban for all other lobbying.
“So this is a five-year lobbying ban, and this is all of the people — most of the people standing behind me — will not be able to go to work,” Trump said on Saturday afternoon as he signed the order in the Oval Office in the White House.
Trump, who was surrounded by aides including senior advisers Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon, and White House Counselor Don McGahn, also signed two more presidential orders to reform the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council, and a plan to defeat the Daesh terrorist group in the Middle East.
Trump’s executive order forces his administration appointees to refrain from lobbying their own agency for five years and accept a lifetime ban on lobbying the US government on behalf of foreign governments.
Trump had promised during his election campaign last year to “drain the swamp” of political practices that he said made officials beholden to special interests.
“If you want to come work in this administration, you can’t seek to profit from this administration,” a senior administration official said.
Trump, a billionaire businessman whose campaign was based partly on getting rid of lobbyists in Washington, has come under pressure to distance himself from his business, and allow his sons to run it in order to prevent conflicts of interest.
Israel, Saudi Arabia, China and some other countries maintain strong lobbies in Washington to promote their policy interests. They often hire former administration officials, known as Washington insiders, to advance their agendas. 
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