Casual bribery goes on almost every day in the nation’s capital. One way special interests game the system is by heavily recruiting members of Congress to leave public service and instead serve powerful corporations as lobbyists.
Congressman Scott Rigell (R-VA), a freshman lawmaker, talked about this issue at a town hall last week. Rigell received an enthusiastic response when he called for a “self-imposed lifetime ban on lobbying” for members of Congress. “Leadership by example,” he called it:
RIGELL: Leadership by example. In every respect, I sought to lead by example and do exactly what I thought needed to be done, whether declining federal benefits, a self-imposed lifetime ban on lobbying. It’s wrong for members of Congress to stop work and then even a year later start lobbying their colleagues. We need a serve-and-go-home mindset.
Watch the video here:
Members of Congress taking jobs on K Street can expect paydays of several hundred thousands; sometimes millions. They are valuable for the lobbying industry because they help gain access, provide insider information, and they often trade policy for pay before they leave office. An analysis by Republic Report found that out of the few lawmakers-turned-lobbyists who have been forced to disclose their salaries, they received over a 1,400% pay raise on average.
We also put out a letter to retiring lawmakers, asking them to at least disclose on their website if they are currently negotiating with a private interest while still in office for a future job. Sunlight can be the best disinfectant. Click here to sign a petition supporting our effort.
Filed under: Lobbying