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Slamming Joe Lieberman for Joining Chinese Telecom Giant, Warren Calls for 'Lifetime Ban' on Members of Congress Becoming Lobbyists

"Corruption in Washington isn't about a single president or political party. It runs deep. We should call it out—and we should pass my sweeping anti-corruption reforms."

Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) addresses the media outside of her home after announcing she formed an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential run on December 31, 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Responding to news that former Democratic Sen. Joe Liebermann—who once promised to never lobby after leaving Congress—is joining the Chinese telecom giant ZTE as a registered lobbyist, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) argued on Thursday that such a move should be illegal and reiterated her call for "a lifetime ban on members of Congress working as lobbyists."

Warren, who on Monday offically announced that she is exploring a 2020 presidential bid, went on to call for a total ban on foreign lobbying as well, arguing that it would force "countries like China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia... to conduct their foreign policy out in the open."

"ZTE is a giant foreign telecom company that's close with the Chinese government. They've violated serious U.S. sanctions on Iran and North Korea. Their lobbyists keep blocking accountability. And today former Senator Joe Lieberman joined them. Should that be legal? No," Warren declared on Twitter.

"Corruption in Washington isn't about a single president or political party. It runs deep," the Massachusetts senator added. "We should call it out—and we should pass my sweeping anti-corruption reforms to clamp down on all the ways giant companies drown govt in money to get their way."

As Common Dreams reported, Warren in August unveiled a sweeping bill titled the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act (pdf), which would—among a host of other reforms—completely bar foreign lobbying and impose a lifetime ban on lobbying by former presidents, members of congress, and federal agency chiefs.

"Our national crisis of faith in government boils down to this simple fact: people don't trust their government to do the right thing because they think government works for the rich, the powerful, and the well-connected, and not for the American people. And here's the kicker: They're right," Warren declared in a speech after introducing her bill. "I'd love to stand here and tell you that this was some sudden drop after Donald Trump was elected, but that wouldn't be true. This problem is far bigger than Trump."

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