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August 08, 2006

Post-Congressional Careers

by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math

The evolution of lobbyist as the preferred post-political career for both DC staffers and their elected bosses drives me crazy. Via TPMMuckracker, here's the Post reporting that House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) threatened the about-to-be-indicted Bob Ney (R-OH) with the prospect of losing access to a career on K Street. Ney joins Latrell Sprewell in the pantheon of unsympathetic poverty pleaders.

Ezra had a piece in the Prospect advocating higher congressional pay as a solution, but I think that puts the cart before the horse. The reason lobbyists and DC lawyers make seven-figure or near seven-figure salaries is that companies seem to think lobbying is a good investment. And why, pray tell, is lobbying a good investment? Because Congress is all too willing to let lobbyists wield far too much influence. Bring back the Office of Technology Assesment, repeal the Orwellianly-titled, earmark-laden "American Jobs Creation Act", and just telling K street that the music has to slow down substantially (I'm not naive enough to think it can be stopped) would reduce the pay differential between Hill staffers and the lobbyists that love them.

On the other end, Congress and the White House ought to find more avenues for ex-Senators and Congressman who do want to stay in public service to continue their work on pet causes, the way Sam Nunn has done since leaving the Senate in the mid-90s.

August 8, 2006 | Permalink

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