Deborah Ross’ ‘Putting People First’ ethics plan

Cracking down on the revolving door with a 10-year ban on lobbying for every former lawmaker.

Right now, more than half of former Members of Congress retired from lawmaking so they could turn around and lobby their former colleagues. Senators should be solely focused on the needs of the people that sent them there, not paving their way to a lucrative lobbying career on K Street. In 2007, ethics scandals forced Washington to institute a 2-year cooling off period between Senators’ retirement and lobbying. But since then, Americans are no more convinced that their government isn’t captured by special interests—in fact, they feel things have gotten worse. As your United States Senator, I’ll support shutting down the revolving door by ensuring lawmakers can’t become lobbyists for a full decade after they leave office. North Carolinians should never have to question whether their Senator is putting lobbyists or the people first.

Eliminate taxpayer subsidies for lobbyists.

There are many commonsense changes we can make to our tax code that will help us compete in the 21st century economy and help middle class families keep more of what they earn. And while there’s no question that reforming our tax code will require hard decisions about how to shape a system that works best for the people and businesses of North Carolina, we should all be able to agree that lobbyists don’t deserve special tax breaks. As your United States Senator, I will champion proposals to eliminate tax breaks for lobbyists—and the savings could raise more than half a billion dollars to invest in our future over the next decade.

Eliminate pay-to-play schemes for government contractors.

Existing law already prohibits corporations and individuals doing business directly with the federal government from making contributions in federal elections. But this law has too many loopholes, and doesn’t apply the same prohibitions to executives, lobbyists, and political action committees for federal contractors. Meanwhile, evidence shows that increased political contributions correspond with more success in landing government contracts. As your United States Senator, I’ll support proposals that close these loopholes and crack down on pay-to-play schemes for government contractors. Our government should do business with companies that do the best work at the best value for the American taxpayer, not whichever give the most to Senators’ reelection campaigns.

Clean up our elections and bring special interest dark money out of the shadows– because voters have a right to know.

The American people deserve to know who is spending on the political ads that flood the airwaves every election season. Unfortunately, a series of Supreme Court decisions—including Citizens United, McCutcheon, and Buckley —have created an unprecedented wave of special interest dark money. As your United States Senator, I’ll support efforts to bring more transparency to our election system, so special interests can’t hide their support for any candidate from voters, and shadowy, unaccountable groups can’t swing our elections. Voters have a right to know who is spending money to influence our elections and empower the elected officials of their choosing.

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