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On Final Day, Trump Reversed 'Drain the Swamp' Order

His appointees are now free to start lobbying former agencies immediately
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2021 3:27 PM CST

(Newser) – In the early days of his presidency, Donald Trump signed an executive order banning members of his administration from lobbying their former agencies for five years after leaving the government. The order was one of the only things Trump did to fulfill his promise to "drain the swamp," but one of his final orders as president ensured that the "swamp" would be refilled, the Washington Post reports. Hours before leaving office Wednesday, Trump rescinded the order, which had also permanently banned his appointees from lobbying on behalf of foreign governments. Government watchdogs say the lobbying ban already had major loopholes and wasn't being enforced, but Trump's move will free his former aides from any remaining worries about taking high-paying lobbying jobs, the AP reports.

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Watchdog groups slammed the last-minute order. "The revocation of the 5-year lobbying ban for presidential appointees is the perfect coda for the most corrupt administration in American history," Robert Weissman, president of the group Public Citizen, said in a statement, per the Post. The ban, he said, had been something Trump cited "to buttress his preposterous claim that he actually cared about corruption and cronyism." The AP notes that Bill Clinton signed a similar order in his final weeks in office. Insiders say President Biden—who has vowed that there will be an "absolute wall" between the government and his family's financial interests—plans to introduce strict ethics rules during his first weeks in office. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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