Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Tuesday she is introducing legislation that would ban lawmakers from owning and trading stock as part of a broader effort to root out the culture of corruption that has “seeped into the fabric of our government.”
Speaking at the National Press Club, Mrs. Warren, a likely 2020 presidential contender, said the public has lost faith in the federal government because it has worked for the “for the rich, the powerful and the well-connected and not the American people.”
“Our government systematically favors the rich over the poor, the donor class over the working class, the well-connected over the disconnected,” the Massachusetts Democrat said. “This is deliberate and we need to call it for what it is: corruption, plain and simple.”
Mrs. Warren said the problem “will not be rooted out with small solutions” and called for the creation of a new “independent sheriff to police corruption” and anti-corruption agency responsible for investigating violations of the law and punishing offenders.
“There are dedicated public servants that enforce our ethics laws, but they have less authority than security guards at the mall,” she said. “This agency can shine floodlights on government actions and empower the public and press with new tools to help safeguard our democracy.”
Mrs. Warren called for a lifetime lobbying ban for current members of Congress and said lobbyists should be banned from donating to campaigns.
She said candidates running for federal office should have to disclose their tax returns and said elected leaders and administration officials should be forced to get rid of their stock holdings.
“We shouldn’t have to beg candidates to let the American people see their financial interests,” Mrs. Warren said. “That should be the law, not just for presidential candidates, but for every candidate for every federal offices.
“It is time to ban elected officials and senior agency officials from owning or trading any company stock while in office,” she said. “They can put their savings in conflict free investments like mutual funds or they can pick a different line of work.”
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