Should former Congress members be prohibited from lobbying Congress? (HR1740)

Summary of Congressional bill HR 1740 (114th):

  • If you used to be a member of Congress, you would no longer be allowed to lobby Congress.

In Depth:

  • Currently, there is a 1 & 2 year ban on lobbying for House & Senate members respectively, after their Congressional term is over.

Vote Yes if you believe:

  • Former members of Congress have an unfair advantage and should not be allowed to lobby Congress. #FreeSpeech
  • This poses a conflict of interest for current members of Congress who want lucrative lobbying jobs in the future. #RevolvingDoor #Lobbyists
  • People should serve in Congress for the privilege of serving the people, not for lobbying jobs. #PublicService

Vote No if you believe:

  • Former members of Congress also have the right to free speech, allowing them to lobby Congress. #1stAmendment #FreeSpeech
  • Former members of Congress may also be very knowledgeable on certain subjects. #Lobbyists
  • This would discourage some from entering public service. #PublicService link to HR 1740

(This is the 1st draft of the summary for a bill in Polinav. Summary & In-Depth is non-partisan & Vote yes/no reasons are fact-checked. if you think something is wrong, should be added or deleted, comment below!)


So, let me just set my beliefs down first:

  1. I believe that Congress should be a temporary serving ground, one where prominent citizens sacrifice a few years to serve their country.
  2. Lobbying as a concept is constitutionally protected; we have the right to petition our Congress.

Yes, our current lobbying industry is toxic to our democracy, but as a concept, it’s valid. Thankfully, I learned this more recently with a Stuff You Should Know podcast on Lobbying. At the same time, however, with my belief in how Congress should run, I don’t think our Congressional representatives should be lobbying Congress after their terms are over. There’s an obvious potential conflict of interest there.

In a perfectly moral society, of course, lobbying & Congress could work hand in hand, but there’s just too many opportunities where personal gain can take precedence over the good of the people. It’s also one of those situations where representatives can rationalize giving in to corporations by how little they’re giving up; but the problem becomes how much in aggregate it affects the whole system.

As much as I’m pessimistic about the system as a whole, I still haven’t lost my faith in people. Such a grandiose statement, I know, but I feel that if we get the right systems in place, then people can choose to make the right decisions. One such system would be Polinav and how it keeps politicians accountable to the people’s opinions :).

I would want my representatives to vote YES on this bill!




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