WASHINGTON: In one of his last acts as president, Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a directive allowing his staff to immediately begin lobbying, reversing his own 2017 executive order aimed at stopping his aides from using their influence for personal gain.
The earlier restrictions, aimed at fulfilling a campaign promise to “drain the swamp,” had targeted the kind of insider culture the Republican Trump had campaigned against and blocked the kind of lucrative gigs that he had said makes politicians beholden to business interests instead of everyday Americans.
In an executive order released overnight, hours before he was due to leave office, Trump withdrew the ethics order that had said his appointees would not lobby their own agency for five years after leaving, and would not lobby any government appointee for two years. It also had called for a lifetime ban on working on behalf of foreign governments or foreign political parties.
“The man who pledged to drain the swamp took a giant step to fill it,” Noah Bookbinder, executive director of the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, said in a statement. “You don’t do things you’re proud of last-minute in…