Democratic presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) is proposing that former government officials be banned from working for “market dominant” companies for a period of four years after leaving office.
She defined market dominant as any company any company with a $150 billion (or larger) market cap, or one that controls “the product or labor supply in their industry.”
Violating companies will be fined 1 percent of net worldwide annual profits for a first offense, 2 percent for a second offense, at at least 5 percent for subsequent violations.
In addition, the ban would extend to any Defense Department contractor taking in $5 million or more from the Pentagon.
“It’s not just Facebook. Today, it is standard practice in Republican and Democratic administrations for giant mega businesses like Pfizer, Google, BP, Citibank, AT&T, Boeing, and Comcast to vacuum up anyone and everyone who leaves one of their government regulators in an obvious effort to leverage their new hire’s political connections and use the allure of potential future job offers to extract favorable treatment,” Warren wrote in a Medium post.
“Take just a few recent examples of the nation’s largest companies giving cushy jobs to the very people who went easy on them while serving in government or helped them escape harsh penalties. All of this hiring is perfectly legal right now — but it shouldn’t be,” she added.
In 2018, Wells Fargo scooped up HUD’s Acting General Counsel Beth Zorc to be its Head of Public Policy, as the bank scrambled to recover from a parade of scandals. By the end of the year, it had negotiated a fine that represents 2% of its annual profits to resolve dozens of investigations into its employees opening bank accounts in customers’ names without their permission.
Fossil fuel giant BP hired Downey Magallanes, one of the top aides to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, after she led an initiative to open up national monuments to drilling and helped the Trump administration scale back safety monitoring rules for offshore oil and gas operations. Less than nine months later, Downey’s friends and former colleagues at the Interior Department gutted a major offshore-drilling safety regulation that had been put in place by the Obama administration after BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion killed 11 workers and devastated the Gulf of Mexico.
And while in the midst of a seven-year global bribery investigation, Walmart hired Rachel Brand, the third-ranking official at the Justice Department. Earlier this year, Brand’s former subordinates at Trump’s DOJ settled with Walmart for $282 million — less than 5% of its annual profits and far less than the nearly $1 billion that Obama administration officials had sought.