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Biden gave "ethics waivers" to at least eight lobbyists-turned-officials

Published in Blog on May 18, 2021 by Convention Of States

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President Joe Biden talked a big game when he took office about cracking down on the revolving door between lobbyists and government officials.

For decades, officials working in "public service" have transitioned to high-paying lobbyist jobs and continued to influence public policy. The reverse is also true: lobbyists have secured top positions at government agencies where they continue to craft policy not according to what's best for We the people but according to what's best for their special interest. 

Biden vowed to shut this revolving door, but a new report from the Daily Wire reveals that there are major gaps in the firewall. At least eight officials have received "ethics waivers" that allow them to work in government positions even though they recently worked for lobbying firms. The move casts doubt on the impartialness of these officials and raises serious conflict-of-interest concerns.

  • Charanya Krishnaswami was brought on in February to serve as senior counselor to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. In order for her to take on the role, the administration granted Krishnaswami an ethics waiver for her previous work as a registered lobbyist on a slew of immigration issues at the left-wing human rights group Amnesty International.
  • Alethea Predeoux serves as director of congressional, legislative, and intergovernmental affairs at the Office of Personnel Management (OMB). She received an ethics waiver because, prior to her appointment, she lobbied on behalf of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), a federal employee union with more than 300,000 members, as the union’s director of legislative, political, and grassroots mobilization. 
  • Celeste Drake, whom Biden appointed to the newly created position of “Made in America” office director, which is based out of the OMB, was granted a similar ethics waiver. Drake previously worked for more than eight years as a trade and globalization policy specialist for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), a group of unions representing more than 12 million active and retired workers. 
  • Michele Brane, who was tapped as director of the family unification task force at the Department of Homeland Security, received an ethics waiver for her past work with the Women’s Refugee Commission, another liberal human rights group that promotes abortion worldwide. 

We could go on, but you get the idea. The Biden administration has no interest in shutting the door between special interests and the federal government. Throughout the administration, officials work in dual roles crafting policy that affects all Americans while lobbying for their preferred special interest. They'll never admit it, of course, but make no mistake: that's exactly what's happening.

Corruption will always be a part of human government, but the Founders of our country instituted checks and balances to ensure that corruption wouldn't destroy our nation. That system is all but broken in Washington, but our Founders left us another recourse: an Article V Convention of States.

A Convention of States is called and controlled by the states, not the federal government. At this convention, states can propose constitutional amendments that limit the size, scope, and jurisdiction of the federal government. These amendments can shrink the power and size of many federal agencies and eliminate others altogether.

With these reforms in place, corporate and union lobbies will have much less incentive to corruptly influence our national officials. Washington won't be able to help them, so these lobbyists will have no reason to pursue government positions (or vice versa). 

This solution is consistent with the vision of the Founders. They understand that human officials would always pursue greater power, and that power tends to corrupt. Rather than try to find the perfect, most virtuous politicians, the Founders instituted a system that keeps corrupt power in check. Article V is a key part of that system of checks and balances, and it's time we used it.

To join the Convention of States movement and encourage your state legislators to support the Founders' solution to federal corruption, sign the petition below!

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Almost everyone knows that our federal government is on a dangerous course. The unsustainable debt combined with crushing regulations on states and businesses is a recipe for disaster.

What is less known is that the Founders gave state legislatures the power to act as a final check on abuses of power by Washington, DC. Article V of the U.S. Constitution authorizes the state legislatures to call a convention for proposing needed amendments to the Constitution. This process does not require the consent of the federal government in Washington, DC.

I support the Convention of States Project; a national effort to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution, restricted to proposing amendments that will impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit its power and jurisdiction, and impose term limits on its officials and members of Congress.

I want our state to be one of the necessary 34 states to pass a resolution calling for this kind of Article V Convention. You can find a copy of the model resolution and the Article V Pocket Guide (which explains the process and answers many questions) here: https://conventionofstates.com/handbook_pdf

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