Episode 735: President Trump (KUOW)


GOLDMARK: And it's so much sense that it's one of those things that the good government reform types in Washington are always asking for and they just never seem to get. So I called one of them up.

LARRY NOBLE: Yeah, I would - yes. I would say we - we run in good government circles or reform circles, yes.

GOLDMARK: That's who you hang out with in Washington.

NOBLE: Professionally (laughter). Now, my - I - you know, I have a lot of different friends from different areas, but yes.

GOLDMARK: Larry Noble is general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, and before that, the Federal Election Committee. And for a short little bit he was a lobbyist.

GOLDMARK: Just write it up and sign it. But, of course, there is a catch. Trump is not the first person to try this. President Obama also signed an executive order that was limiting lobbyists in his administration. And he put restrictions on hiring lobbyists into his administration and on who could lobby after they left.

NOBLE: Yeah. I mean, Obama tried to do something like this. He came into office - we're talking about broad bans and keeping lobbyists out. And they started immediately giving out exemptions, or pretty quickly giving out exemptions, to be able to get people to work for the government.

KING: OK. But what about the second part? Could Trump really stop a Congress person from leaving government and then just becoming a lobbyist a year later?

GOLDMARK: Another one of those sensible-sounding ideas, but it is even harder to pull off, Larry Noble says, because he can't use the pledge solution in this one. He doesn't control Congress. He'd have to have a law, which Larry Noble says is not likely to happen.

NOBLE: And, you know, Congress has been historically reluctant to limit what its members can do once they leave office.

This piece was published on November 12, 2016 by KUOW Seattle. Listen here. 

Lawrence M. Noble is General Counsel of the Campaign Legal Center. Prior to joining the Campaign Legal Center, he served as President and CEO of Americans for Campaign Reform (ACR), practiced political law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, was Executive Director and General Counsel of the Center for Responsive Politics and served as the General Counsel of the Federal Election Commission for 13 years.