WASHINGTON – Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Thursday expressed his approval of new ethics guidelines for the Department of Homeland Security that limit former senior officials from lobbying the Department for at least one year after they leave their posts.
“This is a positive step toward slowing the revolving door between special interests and government service,” said Lieberman. “Allowing officials to immediately lobby the department they once helped run is not only unethical, it also undermines public trust in DHS.”
The improved rules were published Thursday by the Office of Government Ethics and go into effect immediately. The previous policy prohibited senior Department officials from lobbying only the specific agency in DHS where they previously worked, but allowed them to solicit other agencies inside the Department.
Lieberman cited a New York Times story from June 18, 2006, which highlighted several former DHS officials who left the Department to join private firms to lobby various agencies at DHS for domestic security funds. The executives earned enormous sums of money from the same contractors they had been recently overseeing.
“Too many officials, for too long, have been able to use inside information and special access for their own personal benefit. By imposing a single, clear standard across the entire Department, former employees moving to the private sector can no longer exploit loopholes in the system.”