Elizabeth Warren plans on doing what President Trump can’t or won’t. The Massachusetts Democrat has decided to drain the swamp.
Standing before the National Press Club, the progressive firebrand and 2020 Democratic frontrunner released dozens of hard-nosed, no-nonsense anti-corruption measures designed to make sure the government governs on behalf of the governed.
If the Warren reforms become law, politicians would not be allowed to own individual stocks. Politicians would be forced to return any and all gifts. Politicians would never be allowed to lobby after leaving office. Capitol Hill and K Street would become unrecognizable overnight.
And near the top of her long list of proposed reforms, Warren calls for banning “direct political donations from lobbyists to candidates or members of Congress.” When Warren says "lobbyists," though, Warren only means a certain kind of lobbyist. Broad but still targeted, the prohibition allows for certain politically expedient exceptions.
Reached for comment, a Warren spokesman told me that the senator “doesn’t take PAC money or money from federal lobbyists.” Moreover, the Warren office explained, “Her legislation prohibits donations from federal lobbyists.”
That caveat is important because while Warren has a problem with federal lobbyists, Warren apparently has no problem with state and local lobbyists. In fact, the senator has taken thousands of dollars from an executive at Bain Capital and from Massachusetts-based lobbyists.
FEC fillings first reported by the Washington Free Beacon show that Warren cashed two checks from Jonathan Lavine, the chief investment officer of Bain Capital, and his wife, Jeannie Lavine, worth $5,400 each. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Bain Capital has spent more than $5.5 million on lobbying in the last decade.
Those same filings show Warren filling her war chest with $1,000 from Daniel O’Connell, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, an organization described by the Boston Globe as “the state’s most powerful business group.” Warren also took two checks worth $5,400 each from Lawrence Rasky, chair of Massachusetts-based lobbying firm Rasky Baerlein, and Carolyn Rasky, his wife.
When asked whether or not Warren would still accept that money if she had a chance to do it all over again, the senator’s office did not return for comment. It seems the senator wants to drain the swamp in Washington so long as she can still get that campaign money from local lobbyists back home.