Congressman Heath Shuler (D-NC)

One way corporations and special interests rule Washington is by promising lucrative salaries to lawmakers and their staff members. Once a public official makes a deal to go to work for a lobbying firm or corporation after leaving office, often with the promise of a million dollars or more in salary, he or she becomes loyal to the future employer. Thus, a special interest can essentially buy out the lawmaker, gaining not only access but the ability to influence votes and other policymaking power while the lawmaker is still in office.

With dozens of current members of Congress up for retirement this year, a good number of lawmakers are already busy negotiating for jobs on K Street.

Congressman Heath Shuler (D-NC) is a prime example. Shuler, a leader of the Blue Dog caucus of big business-friendly Democrats, announced that this term will be his last a few short months ago. As Politico notes, he is already talking to lobbying firms that may want to hire him as an influence peddler:

Shuler, for one, isn’t wasting any time assessing his options. The conservative North Carolina Democrat has met with several groups with Washington offices in an effort to see if he might be a good fit. […]

One of the organizations taking a serious look at Shuler is The Majority Group, a lobby shop founded by former Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho), according to sources. Rob Ellsworth, a former legislative assistant of Shuler’s, is a co-founder of the boutique lobbying firm.

The Majority Group, one of the lobbying firms courting Shuler, currently represents the beef industry, a foreclosure servicing company called FCI Lender Services, as well as bank holding companies with business in health, life, and real estate insurance.

And while Shuler meets with lobbying firms openly interested in hiring him, the congressman continues to play a pivotal role in shaping the laws we all live under. Shuler and Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) recently formed a bipartisan caucus to secretly draft a grand bargain for dealing with the deficit later this year, according to Erik Wassen of The Hill.

Not all retiring lawmakers are planning to sell out. Congressman Wally Herger, a California Republican who announced his last term, plans to go back to farming, while recently defeated Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has already said he won’t be a lobbyist. However, lawmakers like Congressman Jerry Lewis (R-CA), Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE), Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Congressman Dan Boren (D-OK), and many others are possible recruits for K Street.

While some call this phenomenon the “revolving door,” the line between casual bribery and simply changing careers is incredibly fuzzy. How do we know that lawmakers like Shuler aren’t influenced by the lobbying firms already promising them cash?

Filed under: Lobbying

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42 Responses to “Bribery By Another Name: While Still In Office, Congessman Heath Shuler (D-NC) Already Negotiating With K Street To Become A Lobbyist”

  1. Phil Perspective says:

    How do know that lawmakers like Shuler aren’t influenced by the lobbying firms already promising them cash?

    I don’t know about the others, but Shuler sold out a long time ago(2006, it not before).

  2. barkleyg says:

    Baddd Professional quarterback. Worse Professional politician

    Should be perfect training to be a Professional WHORE( oh, excuse me, Lobbyist)!

  3. Uneekware says:

    Until the major media starts calling these scum out they will keep screwing us. As soon as a senator shows up on a talk show they are all “esteemed Senators” and the commentators kiss their butts. There is no point in having them on the news. Nothing that they say can be trusted. Even the good ones are bad because they all play the “game”, that we stupid people couldn’t possibly understand.

    • CatKinNY says:

      When we lost Tim Russert, we lost a national gatekeeper of the hypocracy and dirty, under the table dealing that is the way business is conducted in Washington between crony capitalists and their future employees, our representatives.

      • Clarkjoyce3 says:

        You’re so right. David Gregory is nowhere near Tim Russert. I haven’ed watched MTP is ages for just this reason.

        • CatKinNY says:

          Hi Clark! I am glad to report that David Gregory is much better than he used to be; I expect that he’ll eventually grow into the job. He will never have that big Irish cop vibe that Tim had though, which allowed him to subliminally intimidate lying lawmakers with tactics right out of a precinct interrogation room. Happy St Patrick’s day! Cathleen

  4. Bill49259 says:

    We should be able to shoot all Lobbyists

  5. […] out pays. If you’re a corporation or lobbyist, what’s the best way to “buy” a member of Congress? Secretly promise them a million dollars or more in pay […]

  6. […] out pays. If you’re a corporation or lobbyist, what’s the best way to “buy” a member of Congress? Secretly promise them a million dollars or more in pay if they […]

  7. […] out pays. If you’re a corporation or lobbyist, what’s the best way to “buy” a member of Congress? Secretly promise them a million dollars or more in pay if they […]

  8. […] day bribery of the revolving door may be the most pernicious form of corruption today. (See our post on Monday about current members of Congress already negotiating for jobs on K Street). Categories: […]

  9. Vicesquad says:

    Congress is the biggest brothel on the planet. 535 street-walkers.
    “Retire”, hell, they’re moving up to pimp-hood on K-Street, so they can keep the money coming from their Wall Street Johns.
    Get the money out of the campaigns. Legislate against former staffers and congressmen from lobbying!
    The Dark Side is winning.

  10. […]   No comments Selling out pays. If you’re a corporation or lobbyist, what’s the best way to “buy” a member of Congress? Secretly promise them a million dollars or more in pay if they […]

  11. […] the Iraq War Worked After All MIT, 1956 Neighborhood Photo: St. Patrick’s Day on All Saints Way Bribery By Another Name: While Still In Office, Congessman Heath Shuler (D-NC) Already Negotiating W… Off-ramp: How demolishing freeways is reviving American cities (my thoughts on the Big Dig here) […]

  12. videos porno says:

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  13. […] it is (boldface mine): Selling out pays. If you’re a corporation or lobbyist, what’s the best way to “buy” a member of Congress? Secretly promise them a million dollars or more in pay if they […]

  14. […] if he ran in the Democratic primary, Shuler suddenly announced his retirement (to take a job as a lobbyist of course). That leaves Bothwell, now running as a Democrat, with a real chance to […]

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  16. […] 20510 (202) 225-6401 STATUS: Letter sent, no response. As we’ve reported, Shuler is already negotiating to become a lobbyist, even as he positions himself to set major tax policy this […]

  17. […] do I bring all this up now?1) Shuler recently decided not to run again for Congress. He’s looking for a job as a lobbyist. Classy.2) That means Bothwell is now the de facto Democratic candidate and Glenn Greenwald at […]

  18. […] if he ran in the Democratic primary, Shuler suddenly announced his retirement (to take a job as a lobbyistof course). That leaves Bothwell, now running as a Democrat, with a real chance to […]

  19. […] Republican from California, has already hinted to the press that they would like a job on K Street. Heath Shuler, a Democratic congressman from North Carolina, has even suggested that he’s held meetings […]

  20. […] In secret, pre-arranged deals they are promised millions of dollars or more in pay if they come to work for them after they leave office. Once a public official makes a deal to go to work for a lobbying firm or corporation after leaving office, he or she becomes loyal to the future employer. And since those deals are done in secret, legislators are largely free to pass laws, special tax cuts, or earmarks that benefit their future employer with little or no accountability to the public. While campaign contributions and super PACS are a big problem, the everyday bribery of the revolving door may be the most pernicious form of corruption today. […]

  21. […] Report” puts it, “Selling out pays. If you’re a corporation or lobbyist, what’s the best way to “buy” a member of Congress? Secretly promise them a million dollars or more in pay if they […]

  22. […] most pernicious form of corruption today. (See our post on Monday about current members of Congress already negotiating for jobs on K […]

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