It’s about that time of year again. Now that the elections are over, ex-congresspeople are in need of new forms of employment, and some congressmen and women are leaving the Hill for other jobs in Washington. One of the most prominent forms of “job security” (or as we call it, corruption) is
the promise of a high paying position after leaving congress. This fall back option implies an obligation for congresspeople to vote favorably on legislation that will affect their future employer. Many of the places where these ex-legislators are headed will be K Street and to other influence peddlers. Politico reports on a few of these cases, citing:
Retiring Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) will join Duke Energy early next year as senior vice president of federal affairs. Rep. Jason Altmire, a Pennsylvania Democrat who lost his primary, is joining insurer Florida Blue as a government affairs executive. Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.), who resigned July 31, will form a public affairs firm, Republic Consulting, with lobbyist Hunter Bates.
Headhunters are excited about several lawmakers who lost election bids this month or left, including Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and Connie Mack (R-Fla.), former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Republican Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno.
Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas), who did not run for reelection, says he’s in the final running for a position at a San Antonio-based company that would have him overseeing government relations and public relations, among other things.
Politico further reports that:
Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) today said she’s doing an about face and leaving Congress in February to become chief executive officer of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
And finally, the Washington Post reports that:
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) will leave the U.S. Senate next year to become president of the Heritage Foundation, succeeding Edwin Feulner, who first co-founded the conservative think tank in 1973 and has served as president for the past 36 years.
Unfortunately, this practice is as legal as it is commonplace. When lawmakers enjoy (on average) a 1452% raise between their jobs, it’s difficult to say exactly where their allegiances lay or when these employment deals were made. This is not a holiday tradition that has shown any signs of stopping unless some type of action is taken. In order to close the revolving door between congresspeople and the special interests that fund them, the American people must hold them accountable and force them to Represent.Us.