Selling out pays. We looked at just a dozen Members of Congress who became lobbyists and other advocates for special interests after they left office and found that they received an average of a 1,452 percent raise. So we here at Republic Report sent a letter to all 36 retiring Members of Congress asking them to commit to disclosing any job negotiations they have with anyone during the rest of their time in office. That way, we at least know who they’re potentially selling out to, and we can watch out for signs that, while still in office, they are working to please a future employer.
So far, we’ve had two Members agree to this request, and two either reject it or refuse to talk to us.
The most powerful Wall Street lobbying group, the Financial Services Roundtable, which represents the big investment banks like Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and Bank of America, is now seeking a new chief lobbyist. On Friday, Politico Influence, an insider’s publication, floated Rep. Barney Frank’s (D-MA) name as a top recruit after he leaves office this year.
Yesterday, I had a chance to chat with Rep. Frank about our campaign. He told me that he does not need to sign our letter because he is not having job negotiations nor does he plan to have any negotiations while he is still in office. When I persisted that this means he should be willing to voluntarily disclose, he compared our pledge to Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” demanding that federal lawmakers oppose tax increases, and said he would not sign it.
We wish Frank would sign our commitment. It simply asks for transparency, so that constituents and the public can know who our federal lawmakers are negotiating with for jobs. Even if Frank doesn’t plan to negotiate for jobs now, he could be getting job offers. And his leadership could go a long way toward inspiring others to make this commitment to the American people.
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