Public Citizen Works to End the Revolving Door
by Amanda Adams*, 4/23/2010
Public Citizen has asked 47 retiring lawmakers to sign a pledge not to take a lobbying job upon leaving Congress. The pledge states, "Upon leaving Congress, I will not accept employment or a leadership position for two years with any business that lobbies, issues lobby communications or has hired lobbyists to lobby my office, committee or staff during my last term."
So far, nobody has signed the pledge. The HuffingtonPost reportedly, "called several retiring members of the House who are not running for some other office and failed to dig up any interest in the pledge."
Last month Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) proposed banning members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists after they leave office.
Meanwhile, President Obama's former White House counsel, Gregory Craig is now advising Goldman Sachs. Some wondered if this violates the ethics executive order which placed restrictions on communicating with and lobbying employees of anyone's former executive agency. A former executive branch employee is not allowed to appear before the official Executive Office of the President on behalf of any client for two years.
Reportedly, an administration spokesman said, "I assume that people who leave the administration know those rules and are following those rules. [. . .] But the policy applies only to lobbying as defined under federal law and does not restrict former officials from providing advice to clients with business or other interactions with the federal government."
Problems surrounding a swift revolving door come up in all sectors. For example, the Washington Post reported earlier this week on the transfer between the mining industry and government. "More than 200 former congressional staff members, federal regulators and lawmakers are employed by the mining industry as lobbyists, consultants or senior executives, including dozens who work for coal companies with the worst safety records in the nation."