U.S. SENATE News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich have announced that they have joined 17 other senators in sending a letter urging President-elect Donald Trump to increase transparency during his transition and keep his promises to reduce the influence of lobbyists and corporate special interests during his transition and in his administration.
Despite a pledge announced last week to limit lobbying by members of the Trump administration, corporate lobbyists and Washington insiders so far have filled many prominent posts within the Trump transition team.
In addition to Udall and Heinrich, the letter was signed by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Robert Casey (D-Penn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Edward Markey (D-Mass.).
“Given your initial decision to allow lobbyists to dominate your transition team, we call on you to be completely transparent about who is working on your transition team, either officially or as unofficial advisors, and making key decisions about how to staff over 4,000 political appointments,” the senators wrote in their letter last week. “Further, we call on you to follow President Obama’s example and implement strong, transparent and enforceable ethics rules governing your transition and Administration. For instance, President Obama’s transition team did not accept gifts or donations from lobbyists, and your transition should do the same. Additionally, while a limitation on lobbying activities after serving in your Administration is important, you should also include stronger measures, like those adopted by President Obama, that prevent lobbyists who join your Administration from working on policy areas in which they recently lobbied. This will help ensure that officials in the Trump Administration are looking out for the best interests of the American people, not their recently former corporate clients.”
Full text of the letter is available here.