- 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced a proposal Wednesday to slap a minimum 35% on lobbying expenses of at least $500,000 per year.
- Such a proposal “is almost certainly unconstitutional,” federal lobbying law expert Robert Kelner told Reason Magazine.
- Warren relied on lobbying for her Senate campaigns during the 2012 and 2018 election cycles, CNBC reported Wednesday.
2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced a proposal Wednesday to slap a minimum 35% tax on entities that spend at least $500,000 per year on lobbying.
Warren said her “excessive lobbying tax” plan will help Congress achieve independence from lobbyists by giving it the resources necessary to defend itself against “influence campaigns,” according to her website.
“We have to break the grip that lobbyists have on our government for good. My plan to end Washington corruption calls for something unique—a new tax on excessive lobbying,” the Massachusetts senator and Wall Street adversary wrote in a Wednesday Twitter post.
A 35% tax will be implemented on lobbying expenses ranging between $500,000 and $1 million, a 60% tax on lobbying expenses between $1 million and $5 million, and a 75% tax on lobbying expenses of more than $5 million under Warren’s plan.
“I have released the most sweeping set of anti-corruption reforms since Watergate. Under my plan, we will end lobbying as we know it,” her proposal reads. (RELATED: Elizabeth Warren Hires Lobbyist One Day After Releasing Plan Calling Lobbying ‘Legalized Bribery’)
“We will make sure everyone who is paid to influence government is required to register as a lobbyist, and we’ll impose strict disclosure requirements so that lobbyists have to publicly report which agency rules they are seeking to influence and what information they provide to those agencies,” it continues.
To fight lobbyists, Warren plans to strengthen Congress’ power against lobbyists through the “Lobbying Defense Trust Fund,” then give financial support for federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help them combat lobbying efforts and establish a new Office of the Public Advocate to encourage Americans to engage with federal agencies, according to the plan.
Some critics have expressed concern that the proposal goes against the First Amendment, which gives Americans the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” or lobby, according to Reason.