Revolving Door Theory Reaction Paper

Pages: 14 (3724 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Government

¶ … Door and the Futility of Regulation

Since the days of early Rome, representative government has been both terribly confounded by and greatly enhanced by the ease with which former policy-makers can continue to exert influence on political affairs even after their removal from political office. While on the one hand these actors are greatly beneficial to special interests and are the most qualified individuals to serve as lobbyists due to their networks of important contacts, there is deep concern that without due caution a conflict of interests may develop adverse effects to the detriment of the government and the public which it serves. Ultimately, however, attempts to regulate the revolving door expose a fundamental contradiction in ideas which indicates that problems surrounding the revolving door are much deeper and far more systemic than specific regulations and/or restrictions are intended to or can possibly cover.

Think about it: elected officials (and their staffs) are presumably individuals we can trust, in or out of office; so placing restrictions on their behavior outside of office indicates an explicit distrust of the motives and impulses which guide their conduct. If they can continue to serve a useful purpose, then they should be expected to do so without distrust. Where such distrust exists, there are problems much more immediate and important than the revolving door which need to be solved, which may include but are not limited to the following: faltering educational objectives and performance; skyrocketing budgets; unstable markets; rapid demographic shifts; international political instability; and domestic political instability.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Reaction Paper on Revolving Door Theory Assignment

The following pages will examine the implementation of legislation restricting post-government employment for Congressmen, staffers, and high-level executive-branch employees (including office holders) and compare the relevant social observations, including but by no means limited to statistics, at important milestone dates such as 1989 and 2007. Where statistics fail to add up with obvious observations it would be best to keep in mind the relationship between the words "state" and "statistics" and the definition of statistics as "political arithmetic." Statistics are by definition limited. After all, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics -- sometimes.

Within a day of his inauguration as President of the United States, Barack Obama issued an executive order mandating an adherence by executive-branch personnel to certain ethical norms.

This code included seven sections, four of which were titled "Revolving Door Ban," indicating a special significance for the issue.

These deal with both pre-government employment and post-government employment.

The entire set of sections is worth repeating here:

"2. Revolving Door Ban -- All Appointees Entering Government. I will not for a period of 2 years from the date of my appointment participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to my former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts.

"3. Revolving Door Ban -- Lobbyists Entering Government. If I was a registered lobbyist within the 2 years before the date of my appointment, in addition

to abiding by the limitations of paragraph 2, I will not for a period of

2 years after the date of my appointment:

(a) participate in any particular matter on which I lobbied within the

2 years before the date of my appointment;

(b) participate in the specific issue area in which that particular matter falls; or (c) seek or accept employment with any executive agency that I lobbied within the 2 years before the date of my appointment.

"4. Revolving Door Ban -- Appointees Leaving Government. If, upon my departure from the Government, I am covered by the post-employment restrictions on communicating with employees of my former executive agency set forth in section 207(c) of title 18, United States Code, I agree that I will abide by those restrictions for a period of 2 years following the end of my appointment.

"5. Revolving Door Ban -- Appointees Leaving Government to Lobby. In addition

to abiding by the limitations of paragraph 4, I also agree, upon leaving

Government service, not to lobby any covered executive branch official or non-career Senior Executive Service appointee for the remainder of the Administration.

In point of fact, this document does not assert much that is new. In 1994, a CRS report for Congress delineated the restrictions then in existence regarding the revolving door.

These laws were part of the Ethics Reform Act of 1989, effective January 1, 1991, and they mostly entailed one-year restrictions on seeking and/or accepting employment for high-level congressional employees including Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and elected officers of Congress, employees on the personal staff of a Member of the House or Senate, and committee staffers.

They prohibited former employees of Senators from lobbying to their former employers, Congressmen from making advocacy contacts and representational communications with intent to influence, and all employees from representing foreign entities before the United States. The stated purpose was to regulate those situations which might arise among individuals "with the intent to influence, any communication to or appearance before" the Member, office or committee "on behalf of any other person (except the United States) in connection with any matter on which such former employee seeks action by a Member, officer, or employee ... In his or her official capacity."

The 1989 Ethics Reform Act was strongly related to a series of laws passed throughout the 1980s appertaining mostly to former Department of Defense employees and requiring public disclosure of their post-government employment with private defense contractors. This series of restrictions updated and enhanced 1969 laws of the same nature and variety. They reflect the time and place in which they were enacted in their subject matter and substance, as can be seen from the testimony of Martin H. Ferber, Director of Manpower and Logistics Issues, National Security and International Affairs

Division, before the Subcommittee on Investigations House Armed Services Committee:

"Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:

I am pleased to be here today to discuss our evaluation of the implementation of the revolving door legislation applicable to Department of Defense (DOD) personnel.

The legislation requires that certain former DOD personnel report their employment with major defense contractors. The intent was that public disclosure would deter conflicts of interest associated with the revolving door.

The initial legislation was passed in 1969 and remained essentially unchanged until the mid 1980s. In 1985, the reporting law (10 U.S.C. 2397) was amended to improve its effectiveness. In addition, new legislation was enacted in 1986 that prohibited certain DOD personnel from accepting compensation from specific defense contractors (10 U.S.C. 2397b) and required major defense contractors to report compensation paid to former DOD personnel (10 [J.S.C. 2397c).

Our evaluations have focused on three main areas.

-- The extent of individual compliance with the legislative reporting requirements.

-- Adequacy of contractors' reports on compensation paid to former DOD personnel.

-- Accuracy of DOD opinions, provided to its personnel, on potential post-DOD employment prohibitions."

Within a few minutes, Mr. Ferber asserted that the best indication of reporting compliance at that time showed a 30% compliance rate, which is far from indicating a successful policy.

By 2007, these restrictions needed another revision; if it was 20 years between the 1969 laws and the 1989 Ethics Reform Act, it was 18 years from the Ethics Reform Act to the 2007 Honest Leadership and Open Government Act. This latter act more or less retained most provisions of the 1989 act.

Its major distinction was that it imposed a two-year "cooling off" period instead of a one-year period, which places much stronger restrictions on lobbying in general.

In addition to the 1989 restrictions, according to a 2010 document there is a lifetime ban on executive-branch employees on "switching sides" on very specific matters such as particular contracts in which a government employee was involved. In cases like these, this employee cannot represent parties to certain contracts against the United States, investigations for the United States, or legal actions involving the United States, in which he or she had substantial knowledge or involvement, at any point.

There is also a two-year ban on "switching sides" in similar matters where an executive-branch employee is prohibited from representing parties to certain contracts against the United States, investigations for the United States, or legal actions involving the United States, in matters which were merely under his or her "official responsibility" as an employee of the executive branch.

Like their legislative-branch counterparts, senior executive-branch employees are subject to a one-year "cooling off" period in which they are prohibited from contacting members of the agencies or departments for which they worked with "intent to influence."

"Very senior" executive-branch employees are subject to a two-year "cooling off" period of the same kind and substance.

Neither senior nor very senior executive-branch employees are prohibited, however, from influencing Congress or its Members or employees.

Senior executive-branch employees are prohibited for one year from representing official foreign entities "before any officer or employee of any department or agency of the United States" (italics added) with intent to influence that officer… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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