In January of 2017, President Donald Trump issued a new ethics policy regarding lobbyists. The policy weakens the ethics policy which prevented lobbyists from joining agencies related to where they lobbied before. This change by the Trump administration allows lobbyists such as corn syrup advocates to help the USDA set rules and guidelines about what’s healthy.
For context, let’s take a step back for a moment. In 2009, Barack Obama made an executive order to prevent lobbyists from joining agencies if they had lobbied for something similar within the past two years. Though this ethics policy still remains, it has gotten easier for lobbyists to join an agency as long as they have an “ethics waiver”.
Now, how does all this affect citizens? Kailee Tkacz, a previous corn syrup lobbyist, was given an ethics waiver to serve as a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She lobbied on “education regarding federal food policy”, but now with her new position in the USDA, she can change those very same policies. That could mean that the maximum amount of corn syrup in any given product could rise, and it could mean that corn syrup will be seen as more healthy based on new standards.
“Recently, the World Health Organization recommended that an average adult consume only twenty-five grams of sugar daily,” Bruce Tran wrote in a previous article about health on our website. “However, an average American consumed about three pounds of sugar each week. With two-thirds of American being obese or overweight, there are many scientific studies to support that sugar is strongly linked to obesity.”
Tkacz is just one example of a former lobbyist joining the ranks of a government agency they once sparred with in a professional setting. Since June of 2017, over 30 lobbyists were appointed to Trump administration posts to oversee the same issue area on which they had lobbied on in the two year prior, in an apparent total shift in the Obama area policy.