The Revolving Door

Last month, I talked about gerrymandering as part 1 of a series that I hope will inform the American voter about how corruption is plaguing our political system. This week, in part 2, I will talk about the revolving door.

My goal is to research the different parts of the American Anti-Corruption Act, an act that has only been proposed and not passed. It is organized as follows.

  1. Stop Political Bribery
    • Make it illegal for politicians to take money from lobbyists.
    • Ban lobbyist bundling.
    • Close the revolving door.
    • Prevent politicians from fundraising during working hours.
  2. End Secret Money
    • Immediately disclose political money online.
    • Stop donors from hiding behind secret-money groups.
  3. Fix Our Broken Elections
    • End gerrymandering.
    • Let all voters participate in open primaries.
    • Let voters rank their top candidates, avoid “spoilers.”
    • Automatic voter registration.
    • Vote at home or at the polls.
    • Change how elections are funded.
  4. Enforce the Rules
    • Crack down on super PACs.
    • Eliminate Lobbyist Loopholes.
    • Strengthen Anti-Corruption Enforcement

Definition

The revolving door is a term that is used to describe the shuffling around of those working in politics and those that work in lobbyist positions. Those working in politics could be elected officials or those that work under them as staff.

Why Should We Care?

Currently, many businesses and companies pay millions of dollars to lobbyists who lobby for bills and laws that we, the public, don’t generally want. A lot of the time this money is invisible, as it gets filtered through super PACs. That is a topic for another post.

Many states have something in place to try and combat against this revolving door. To find out what your state does about the revolving door, refer to the article Revolving Door Prohibitions by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The Flip Side

There are a lot of proponents to the revolving door. Most of these proponents, as you can guess, are politicians and lobbyists. Investopedia indicates that the policies that have been set to prevent revolving door practices are not that effective in the world’s largest democracies. They have a point, as many of the policies do not. You cannot simply stop with a revolving door policy. You need across-the-board legislation like the American Anti-Corruption Act, which will plug up the loopholes that exist that make the existing policies deficient.

Investopedia also mentions that there is a benefit to having the expertise of lobbyists that were former public officials. This again, may be true.

When a politician receives campaign funds and gifts from lobbyists they are being influenced greatly by those contributions, no matter how much they want to deny this fact. Furthermore, these same politicians are more likely to pass a bill or law that reflects those contributions. That is corruption, plain and simple.

What Can I Do?

The easiest thing to do is to keep yourself informed. Learn about corruption. Stay up to speed on the progress and road blocks that those who are trying to combat corruption face. Follow Represent.us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Featured Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash

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