October 14, 2019 / 3:23 PM / 2 months ago

Biden aims campaign finance and ethics proposals at Trump

FILE PHOTO: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden gestures as he speaks at a campaign town hall meeting in Rochester, New Hampshire, U.S., October 9, 2019. REUTERS/Mary Schwalm/File Photo

(Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden would look to ban private money from federal elections, his campaign said on Monday in a plan for government ethics that doubled as an attack on President Donald Trump.

Trump, a businessman who came to Washington promising to “drain the swamp” of corrupting influence, has been criticized for not divesting from his own private businesses or releasing his tax returns, a break from precedent.

The former U.S. vice president is promising to match individual donations for elections with government funding, and to block cash from private sources. Biden would also establish a new commission to enforce anti-corruption laws, bar lobbying by foreign governments and require candidates to disclose their tax returns.

In recent weeks, Trump has leveled accusations about Biden’s son Hunter’s business dealings without evidence. The president’s efforts to get officials in Ukraine to investigate led Democrats in the U.S. House last month to begin an impeachment inquiry into the president. Democrats assert Trump risked U.S. national security when he withheld aid to Ukraine while simultaneously pressing the country to investigate the Bidens for his own political gain. Trump has denied wrongdoing.

Hunter Biden said through his attorney on Sunday that he was stepping down from the board of a Chinese company that has been the subject of criticism from Trump and his allies. He added that he would not work for a foreign-owned company if his father was elected president in 2020.

Biden’s campaign said he would “strengthen our laws to ensure that no future president can ever again abuse the office for personal gain.”

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said that “Americans don’t need lessons on ethics from a former vice president whose adult son took in lucrative jobs and investments from foreign interests while his dad was in office.”

Some of Biden’s proposed policies, which include laws and constitutional amendments dealing with ethics and campaign finance, would need to clear a high hurdle of gaining approval from either a divided Congress or individual U.S. states.

His campaign has abstained from accepting cash from federally registered lobbyists and certain corporate fundraising entities that are allowed to raise unlimited sums of money, but Biden does raise money at private events with wealthy donors.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in Columbus, Ohio; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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