On Saturday, January 28, President Trump issued an Executive Order setting forth the ethics regulations governing current and future executive agency appointments, which is both more restrictive and less restrictive than the 2009 Obama Executive Order addressing the same issue. Specifically, and with respect to the former, President Trump’s order bans all executive agency appointees from engaging in “lobbying activities” with respect to the particular agency in which the appointee served for a period of five years after leaving the Administration, and further prohibits such appointees from lobbying on behalf of a foreign government or political party during the remainder of their lifetimes (if such activities would require registration “under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938”). See §§ 1.1, 1.4. These two prohibitions were absent from the Obama-era counterpart and mirror two of Trump’s promises outlined in his Contract with the American Voter.
At the same time, and perhaps more importantly, the Trump Executive Order, unlike the Obama Executive Order, does not impose a two-year ban on appointees leaving the Government who are “covered by the post-employment restrictions set forth in” 18 U.S.C. § 207(c), but instead, defaults to the statutorily-provided for prohibitions. See id. § 1.2.
In a further departure from the Obama Executive Order, Trump’s order also does not prevent current registered lobbyists from seeking employment with an executive agency that they lobbied during the two years preceding the appointment date; thus allowing appointments and hiring of current lobbyists. However, such appointees continue to be restricted for two years after their appointment from participating in: (1) “any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to [the lobbyist’s] former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts;” (2) “any particular matter” on which s/he lobbied within the two years prior to the appointment date; and (3) “the specific issue area in which that particular matter falls.” See id. §§ 1.6-1.7.