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Edwards' Major Announcement: I Will Ban Corporate Lobbyists And Foreign Government Lobbyists From My White House

Press Release

Location: Washington, IA

Edwards will end the corruption in Washington by holding his administration to a higher standard by banning corporate lobbyists from serving in an Edwards White House

Washington, Iowa - Today, Senator John Edwards said that he will ban anyone who has worked as a corporate lobbyist or has lobbied for a foreign government from working in an Edwards Administration. Edwards is proud to be the only presidential candidate who has never taken a dime from any Political Action Committee or Washington lobbyist, because he's determined to be a voice for regular families like the ones he grew up with.

"I want to make an announcement today," Edwards said at an event in Washington, Iowa. "No corporate lobbyists or anyone who has lobbied for a foreign government will work in my White House. We will not replace corporate Republicans with corporate Democrats. I hear people argue that the way that you can get things done is to sit at a table with drug companies, insurance companies, oil companies, and negotiate with them and somehow they will voluntarily give away their power. I think this is a complete fantasy.

"I am proud of the fact that I have never taken money from a Washington lobbyist or a special interest PAC my whole time in public life," Edwards continued. "I don't think you can bring about change by taking their money or sitting down at a table and trying to make a deal with them. I think if that worked, we would have universal health care, we would be attacking global warming, we'd have a trade policy that makes sense, and we'd have a tax policy that makes sense. I don't think these people will give up anything without a fight - they've been there too long and they have billions of dollars at stake."

In August, Edwards challenged Senator Clinton and the other presidential candidates to join him in demanding the Democratic Party lead the way to real reform by refusing, as a party, to take campaign contributions from Washington lobbyists. And in October, Edwards unveiled his "One Democracy Initiative" to return the power in Washington to regular people and end the unique power of lobbyists.

Edwards called for prohibiting all candidates and federal office holders from accepting contributions from lobbyists and prohibiting federal lobbyists from acting as bundlers for federal candidates. As president, he will limit the ability of lobbyists to secure lucrative earmarks by enacting a Constitutional version of the line-item veto, where the president can require an up or down vote on special-interest spending. He also proposed curbing lobbyists' influence by increasing disclosure requirements for lobbyist activity and by prohibiting government executives from accepting gifts and travel from lobbyists and their employers.

Edwards "One Democracy Initiative" also called for closing the revolving door between Capitol Hill and K Street by reinstating the five-year ban on lobbying by former top government officials. Edwards' new proposal today builds on this by banning any former corporate or foreign government lobbyist from serving in an Edwards Administration.

Over the past few administrations, influencing our government has grown into a big business that employs a mass of lobbyists and lawyers. Lobbying expenditures totaled $5.1 billion during the last Congress. The number of Washington lobbyists has tripled in the past 10 years to almost 36,000—more than 60 for every member of Congress. Edwards believes it's time to end this permanent government and go back to a Jeffersonian model of public service. He believes there are plenty of skilled, honest and talented people from across our nation who will come to Washington to serve their country for four or eight years.

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