March 26, 2012

Retiring Senator Ben Nelson Refuses To Disclose Any Job Negotiations With Lobbyists

Selling out pays. Members of Congress who retire to become lobbyists get huge paydays. We looked at just a dozen federal lawmakers who went through the revolving door and found that they get, on average, 1,452% raises.

That’s why we sent a letter to the 36 retiring Members of Congress to publicly disclose any negotiations they’re having with lobbying firms or anyone else for a job after they leave Congress. If they’re selling out, we at least want to know — especially while they’re still in Congress and making laws that govern our lives.

Two Members of Congress told us they’d be willing to disclose — Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI) and Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC). Meanwhile, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) refused to even talk to us about our campaign. Now, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) has formally declined to publicly disclose on his website any job negotiations he may have. I called Nelson press secretary  Ron Eckstein last week and talked to him about our campaign. Shortly thereafter, Eckstein emailed me to tell me that Nelson will not be signing our letter:

“Senator Nelson’s future plans are personal, so he does not see the need to sign this letter.”

Nelson’s decision is disappointing, and will allow a cloud of suspicion to hang over his head as to what his plans will be after leaving office. There are still 32 Members of Congress who have not responded to our request. Help us get their attention by signing our petition and sharing it on Facebook and Twitter.