U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson has joined with U.S. Rep. Bill Posey to introduce the Stop the Revolving Door in Washington Act -- a measure that would extend the ban on lobbying by members of Congress from one to five years.
"The relationship between so many past members and current members only adds to the deep suspicion the American people hold for Congress," Rep. Johnson said.
"Congress is out of touch. Members aren't listening to their constituents. They're listening to each other. Then they use whatever influence they've built on Capitol Hill to land lucrative lobbying contracts and the whole insidious cycle continues."
The bill, H.R. 4030, would extend the one-year lobbying ban on former House members to five years and extend the two-year ban on Senators to five years as well. It would further ban lobbying by former congressional staffers for two years. Additionally, the bill would close the so-called Daschle loophole that currently allows informal lobbying by former members whether they are a registered lobbyist or not.
"I commend Tim for joining me in introducing this bill as he understands that serving in the United States Congress is a public service and a great privilege," said Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla. "Serving in Congress should not be about charting a post-service career path. By putting a five-year ban on lobbying our bill will restore some public trust and return Congress to a citizen legislature."
A study released last year by the Center for Responsive Politics showed that of the 352 members of Congress who have left office between 1998 and 2011, fully 79 percent had worked as lobbyists.
Johnson continued, "There is a mindset among too many people in Washington that once they have this job, they're going to exploit every angle, whether its trips at government expense, insider trading or lobbying. We have veered far from the path of public service. The least we can do is extend this ban on lobbying to limit the corrosiveness of influence peddling."
In related legislation, Rep. Johnson has also introduced legislation to put a moratorium on congressional travel and reform travel reporting requirements. In January, he also introduced the Citizen Legislator Act that would cut members' salaries in half, cut the time they spend in session in half and allow them to work outside of their congressional duties.
Rep. Johnson was also an original cosponsor of the STOCK Act in 2006 and again this year when it finally passed in an attempt to curb insider trading by members of Congress. Additionally, he has sponsored legislation that would require members of Congress to wait until the Social Security retirement age to be able to collect their congressional pensions.