From the beginning, I’ve said this campaign is about public service, not self-service. The COVID-19 pandemic is a harsh reminder of why we need honest public servants in government. Unfortunately, too many in Washington are looking to serve themselves and special interests while ignoring what’s best for the public. We need to change the rules so that can’t happen.
Oversight and accountability are the key. Take the $2 Trillion relief package passed by Congress in the CARES Act. The House insisted on a special watchdog to ensure that lobbyists and special interests weren’t receiving an undue amount of funding. But then President Trump fired this watchdog knowing he himself wouldn’t be held accountable on a bipartisan basis. No oversight, no accountability, and that hurts all of us.
I have a two-pronged approach to fix this. First, we need to stop members of Congress from turning a blind eye to lobbyists corrupting the policymaking process. All too often, this is because lobbyists are former members of Congress themselves, and their clients are big campaign donors. There should be a lifetime ban on members of Congress becoming lobbyists after they leave office. Lobbyists should also have to disclose the donors of all their clients—no more dark money.
Second, we need a watchdog with teeth looking over the executive branch. I believe any administration, Republican or Democrat, works better with oversight. I support calls to create an Office of the Public Advocate to hold the executive branch accountable for rule making and policy implementation.