- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 16, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Thursday plans to introduce legislation aimed at curbing the influence of defense contractors on the military that her office said is aimed at limiting a “revolving door” between the federal government and the private sector and boosting transparency.

“We need to fundamentally change the way Washington does business and put power back in the hands of the American people – that includes making sure national security decisions are driven only by what best keeps Americans safe, and not by defense industry profit-making,” said Ms. Warren, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

Ms. Warren’s legislation would impose a four-year ban on “giant” contractors hiring senior Defense Department officials and on contractors hiring former Pentagon employees who managed their contract.

It would also place new restrictions on the ability of Defense Department officials and employees from owning stock in defense contractors, require the secretary of Defense to publish copies of defense contracts worth more than $10 million online, and make private defense contractor subject to federal open-records rules.

Ms. Warren said it’s “past time” to cut a “bloated” defense budget.

“Defense contractor influence is a big part of how we ended up with a Pentagon budget that will cost more this year than Ronald Reagan spent at the height of the Cold War,” she said in a Medium post. “[W]hile the defense industry will inevitably have a seat at the table, they shouldn’t get to own the table itself.”

The legislation would also require sign-off from the secretary of State for former government officials who seek paid work for foreign governments and ban former military and civilian intelligence officers from working for a foreign government or private group that operates predominantly on behalf of a foreign government, among other items.

Rep. Jackie Speier, California Democrat, plans to introduce a similar bill in the House.

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