NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

LAWMAKERS AS LOBBYISTS

January 11, 2005

Once they leave their government posts, lawmakers become ideal job candidates for lobby and trade groups looking to advance their agendas in Washington, writes Julie Hirschfeld Davis of the Baltimore Sun.

Lawmakers are highly qualified lobbyists because they have a deep knowledge of policy issues and the inner workings of Congress, as well as due to their prominent titles and highly placed connections. Moving from government to lobby groups has become a common practice and is highly lucrative:

  • Federal records show that 103 former members of Congress are registered to lobby, with the most notable addition being Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) as the new lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).
  • Top lobbyists regularly draw seven-figure salaries from companies, significantly higher than a government salary of $158,100 a year.

Lawmakers, such as Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), say they relish the opportunity to stay involved in the issues that have shaped their careers in government. Breaux says he'd be foolish not to continue doing it.

However, observers find the trend unseemly and corrupting -- an example of businesses using improper influence to buy political favors. For example, it raises concerns about how members of Congress might behave while in office in order to land lucrative employment when they jump to the private sector.

Source: Julie Hirschfeld Davis, "From the Capitol to K Street," Baltimore Sun, January 4, 2005.

 

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