GREEN BAY, Wis. — Donald Trump Monday proposed a five-piece package of government ethics reforms while attacking Hillary Clinton as corrupt for allegations of a “quid pro quo” between the FBI and State Department. His proposals for reforming the revolving doors between government and the interests that lobby it came even as he continued to question the legitimacy of the American election process as a whole.
Trump called for a ban on all executive branch officials from lobbying the government for five years after they leave their posts. He said he would seek the same legislation to prevent Congressional members and their staffs from lobbying Congress.
The Republican nominee would also seek to codify and expand the term lobbyist in order to “close all loopholes that former government officials use by labeling themselves consultants and advisors when we all know they’re lobbyists.” Trump added that he wants to ban senior executive branch officials for life from lobbying on behalf of foreign governments.
The fifth piece of Trump’s ethics reforms includes a caveat about campaign finance reform that seeks to prevent registered foreign lobbyists from raising money in U.S. elections.
These points correspond to allegations Trump raised during his rally against Clinton, painting himself as a problem solver who can enact solutions to ethical questions raised about the Democratic nominee, which Trump called “magnitudes…worse than Watergate.”
Trump has devoted much of his time on the campaign trail to attacking the “insider” class of lobbyists, strategists, and donors, promising that, as a former insider himself, he can reform the system. The new proposal marks his first attempt at specific policy proposals on the matter – his second new policy roll out in three days.
But the GOP nominee also dove deeper into his contention that the election is being "rigged" against him, warning that voter fraud and “non citizen” voters could cost him a victory in three weeks. And it’s not just this election he’s casting doubt on anymore: Trump asserted without hard evidence that non-citizen voters, who aren’t allowed to vote in federal elections, possibly won North Carolina for Obama in 2008.
Trump, who spent Monday morning tweeting about the “rigged system” impacting polling places (though he provided no evidence of such), alleged that people who have died are still voting, that illegal immigrants are casting ballots, and that voter fraud is “very, very common.”
“People that have died 10 years ago are still voting,” Trump said. “Illegal immigrants are voting.” While it is true that dead people are still on voter rolls, proof is scarce that this has caused widespread voter fraud.
In fact, voter fraud is the opposite of what Trump dubbed it: very unlikely. According to the Brennan Center’s report on voter fraud, it’s more likely that an American “will be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls.” Another study published in the Washington Post found 31 instances of voter fraud out of more than 1 billion votes cast from 2000 to 2014.
Still, Trump pushed the theory – a recent theme that fits his long-standing tactic of decrying the electoral system as rigged against him as an “outsider” to its longstanding traditions.
Citing a Washington Post article from 2014 (while also bashing media for not telling voters about this), Trump said that non-citizen voters could have given Senate Democrats the majority, as well as pushed Obama to victory in 2008 in North Carolina. The article pushes these hypotheticals, but also cautions about its methodology and conclusions.
“Extrapolation to specific state-level or district-level election outcomes is fraught with substantial uncertainty,” the Post writes in October 2014. “It is obviously possible that non-citizens in California are more likely to vote than non-citizens in North Carolina, or vice versa. Thus, we are much more confident that non-citizen votes mattered for the Minnesota Senate race (a turnout of little more than one-tenth of our adjusted estimate is all that would be required) than that non-citizen votes changed the outcome in North Carolina.”
Trump punctuated his point by asking an animated crowd “we don’t want non-citizen voters, is that OK?”
According to Politifact, some local jurisdictions allow noncitizens to vote in local elections, but it’s still illegal for them to vote in federal elections. Trump has previously stated that non-citizens can register to vote on the same day as elections – a claim that has since been debunked as not true as it does not corroborate what the law already states.
Trump’s claims go further than he has before in casting doubt on the election system. While he has spoken at length at rallies and on Twitter about the 2016 election, Trump’s comments now cast a shadow over both Senate and 2008 presidential results