Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
Photograph by Jim Mone — AP
By Tory Newmyer
August 31, 2015

Hillary Clinton is endorsing a plan to slow the revolving door between government and Wall Street by banning bonuses for people heading into public sector jobs and making it tougher for them to cash out as lobbyists.

“The American people need to be able to trust that every single person in Washington — from the President of the United States all the way down to agency employees — is putting the interests of the people first,” Clinton wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed co-bylined by the proposal’s architect, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.).

Clinton is playing catch-up in backing the bill. Baldwin introduced it last month, and it quickly grabbed two notable cosponsors: liberal stalwart Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent posing a surprisingly stout challenge to Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Liberal groups wary of Clinton’s industry ties last week called on her to get aboard. But Baldwin herself is supporting Clinton for president and hitting the trail for her in Iowa today.

The bill would prohibit “golden parachute” payouts that firms sometimes offer employees who leave for government gigs. Those making the switch to the federal government would have to recuse themselves from handling matters related to their former employer for two years — double the current requirement. And those leaving government would have to wait two years before going to work for a firm they oversaw.

Clinton’s move comes as a new poll shows her as vulnerable as ever in Iowa, the first stop in the Democratic primary. Sanders has closed to within 7 points of her there, according to a Des Moines Register/ Bloomberg Politics survey released Saturday. Even more bracing for the Democratic frontrunner, the poll shows she has lost a third of her supporters in the state since May — and seen her backing sink below 50 percent for the first time.

Clinton has struggled all summer to ignite broad-based enthusiasm for her candidacy, while Sanders has stunned the political establishment by turning out huge crowds and pulling ahead of Clinton in New Hampshire. The dynamic appears to reveal a Democratic electorate on edge about Clinton’s trustworthiness — considering her evolving explanation for using a private email server while Secretary of State, along with deeper qualms about her ties to moneyed interests.

Some Republicans wasted no time Monday pointing out the irony of Clinton’s push to clamp down on those who profit from public service. The candidate, who famously described her family as “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2000 after Bill Clinton’s presidency, now claims a personal net worth stretching into eight figures. Her and her husband have raked in millions just in speaking fees, including $3.6 million in talks to financial industry firms since 2014 alone. The former president delivered the bulk of them, but Hillary Clinton earned $280,000 last October for a speech to Deutsche Bank executives, for example.

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