New Biden Ethics Rules Ban Bonuses, Expand Lobbying Restrictions

President-elect Joe Biden plans to announce new ethics rules to tighten limits on former private-sector employees joining the government and create new lobbying restrictions, The Washington Post reports.

The new ethics rules would ban incoming administration officials from being paid bonuses from previous employers for joining the government, though they would still allow members to be paid compensation still owed to them by their former companies.

Officials that leave the administration would also be barred from lobbying the administration for at least the length of Biden’s term.

Ethics experts praise:

The rules go beyond previous presidents like Barack Obama in seeking to crack down on “shadow lobbying” in which former government officials work at law firms to assist with lobbying but without actually lobbying themselves.

Biden also plans to reimpose a ban on lobbyists working at agencies they had recently lobbied unless they get a White House waiver, a rule President Trump scrapped.

“This is the boldest and most ambitious presidential ethics plan ever launched by an administration of either party,” Norm Eisen, who wrote Obama’s ethics plan, told the Post. “My take is that it is a vast improvement on Trump and a significant step forward on our Obama pledge in a number of respects.”

Employees to sign pledge:

The Biden executive order is also expected to require employees to sign an ethics pledge that calls on them to avoid doing anything that could be construed as being for private gain and avoid any improper influence over law enforcement.

Biden plans to separately ban his family members from working for any majority foreign-owned businesses and create new procedures to ensure that no family members “create even the appearance of a conflict of interest.”


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